From the Real Deal:
The chaos of the past few weeks is likely to lead to an acceleration in the rate of real-estate purchases by wealthy Chinese buyers in the US and elsewhere.
“[Chinese] Investors who were looking at investing overseas may bring forward their purchases,” James MacDonald, head of Savills Research in China, wrote in an email to Business Insider. “While some of those that may not have been considering the purchase of property in the U.S. may now look at doing so.”
The Chinese see US real estate as a relatively moderate risk, high-return investment, Svenja Gudell, the chief economist at real-estate-research site Zillow, told Business Insider. Especially if buyers anticipate further RMB devaluation and market volatility.
Wealthy Chinese are already the largest group of foreign real-estate buyers in the US, with 16% of the single homes and condominiums purchased by foreign buyers snapped up by Chinese last year, according to the US National Homebuyers Association. They were trailed by Canadians, who bought 14% of homes.
These houses are typically more expensive properties, worth an average $831,800. Domestic buyers average $345,800 on a new single-family home, according to the US Census Bureau.
Brokers in the US can see the shifting sentiment among their Chinese real-estate clients.
Emma Hao, a broker for Douglas Elliman who specializes in Chinese clients, told Business Insider she’s already felt an increase in urgency among her buyers to purchase property in the US before the yuan devalues further.
“Because they are insecure about the economy and the politics, with the RMB devaluation, the stock market got mashed, and the real estate in China is a big bubble — there is nowhere to go.”
Andrew Wu, a real-estate agent at Daniel Gale Sotheby’s who caters to Chinese luxury-real-estate buyers in Long Island, told Business Insider: “They’re looking for a safe haven, and the real-estate market has always been looked upon as a safe haven for Chinese buyers.”