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Straight Talk
Chinese Most Active International US Real Estate Investors

From our company chief economist, Selma Hepp

According to the latest research from NAR, foreign investment in US homes surged nearly 50% over the past year. California remains a prime destination for overseas buyers, particularly those from China.

International homebuyers purchased $153 billion of residential property between April 2016 and March of 2017, a 49 percent gain from the previous year and a new high. They bought a total of almost 285,000 homes in that time period, accounting for 10 percent of existing-home sales by dollar volume. international buyers paid an average of $302,290 for an existing home, compared with the $235,792 spent by all buyers. Forty-four percent of foreign buyers paid for properties in all cash, down from 50 percent in the previous year’s survey.

While the significant increase in international investment was driven by Canadian buyers, buyers from China were the most active investors for the third straight year, purchasing a total of 40,572 US homes. The Chinese also spent the most by dollar volume: $31.7 billion, a new survey high. Chinese buyers paid an average of $781,801 for properties, more than those from Canada, India, Mexico, and the U.K.

California, Florida and Texas were the three most popular destinations for foreign homebuyers, with the Golden State accounting for 12 percent of international purchases. Chinese buyers showed a preference for California due to geography, cultural similarities, and thriving job markets. Thirty-seven percent of Chinese buyers purchased properties in California, more than twice as much as any other state.

NAR Chief Economist Lawrence Yun projects that foreign demand for US real estate should remain robust given strengthening global economic conditions and the fact that the country is still seen as a safe, secure place to live and invest. However, he noted that tighter capital regulations in China and weakening currencies in Canada and the U.K. somewhat dampened activity in the early part of 2017.

The worldwide reach of Aaroe Global works to ensure foreign buyers find Southern California properties fast, learn about them in their own language, and connect with a skilled Aaroe real estate professional quickly and easily.

Our Mandarin-speaking Concierge, based in Beijing, maintains close ties with a group of Chinese investors, and assists them in all facets of U.S. real estate investment, including relocation, education advice and healthcare advice, and works with an immigration attorney specializing in EB5 visas. Our Concierge also responds to all online inquires from Mandarin-speaking buyers to assure their needs are attended to with the utmost care.

John Aaroe Group maintains 20 international websites, each dedicated to its own language. Because the machine translation commonly seen on other real estate websites is invisible to search engines, we hire experts to carefully translate key content. This allows search engines to identify and index our pages. This indexed content gives our properties the highest SEO rankings, and allows our listings to be suggested to users searching in a specific language for properties in specific locations.

Our listings are featured on key proven sites geared to the international investor, including Juwai; the Wall Street Journal; and Mansion Global, powered by Dow Jones.


Selma Hepp is the Chief Economist and Vice President of Business Intelligence for Pacific Union International. Her previous positions include Chief Economist at Trulia, senior economist for the California Association of Realtors, and economist and manager of public policy and homeownership at the National Association of Realtors. She holds a Master of Arts in Economics from the State University of New York (SUNY), Buffalo, and a Ph.D. in Urban and Regional Planning and Design from the University of Maryland.

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