The China Alliance of Real Estate Agencies toured the Seattle area in November 2017. This membership is responsible for about 60% of home sales in China and they love the Seattle area and explain why foreign home buying is surging in this region.
King County has been one of the most sought-after markets for foreign investors, so this has been a significant factor in our soaring home prices, as well.
What’s so appealing about the Seattle region for foreign investors?
Good schools, clean air, close proximity to China and beautiful natural resources are all important factors for foreign investors. In addition, internationally renowned companies such as Amazon, Microsoft, and Boeing and our strong economy are also important to them. Many feel that Seattle has all the perks of Vancouver, BC, but is much less expensive. Vancouver has previously long been a destination for Chinese investors… but are these properties used as investments or for personal residences?
According to the vice president of B.A. & 515J Group, a brokerage in Beijing, it’s about 50/50. Investors who choose to rent project a 5%-6% profit per year, while others send their children here for school or work, using their home as a primary residence. Many Chinese also purchase here as an investment for future generations.
The majority of buyers have preferred Medina and West Bellevue for their luxury real estate investments, but many are now also purchasing in Seattle or are seeking other middle-class housing options as well.
Foreign investments have stalled somewhat in 2017, due to China creating currency restrictions on the amount of money that can be transferred annually out of the country. However, Seattle will remain a viable market attractive to Chinese buyers, because it still offers better values compared to Vancouver.
Many Chinese investors are also using the federal EB-5 program. This program allows foreigners to become permanent U.S. Residents, if they invest at least $500,000 in certain U.S. projects.
While Seattle’s diversified economy and housing market offer significant appeal and opportunity to Chinese buyers, it’s important to seek the advice of a qualified, experienced bi-lingual real estate professional in this competitive market. I have assisted my Chinese clientele in successful real estate transactions here for many years.