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  1. #1
    Super Moderator Newmexican's Avatar
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    For Chinese Home Buyers, Seattle Is the New Vancouver

    For Chinese Home Buyers, Seattle Is the New Vancouver

    Canadian city’s tax-policy changes appear to be driving overseas investors south






    Online searches in China for Seattle properties rose 125% in November from a year earlier, says Juwai.com, a real-estate portal. PHOTO:GEORGE ROSE/GETTY IMAGES



    By LAURA KUSISTO and
    KIM MACKRAEL

    Updated Feb. 7, 2017 6:34 p.m. ET

    When Anna Riley, a Seattle-area real-estate agent, held an open house for a new $2.3 million listing in the tony city of Bellevue late last month, the pool of prospective buyers was different from the usual assortment of tech magnates, sports stars and chief executives.

    Twenty groups of buyers visited the property in the Seattle metro area—and all of them were Chinese.

    “Every single one,” said Ms. Riley, an agent at Windermere Real Estate, noting that Asian investors had typically, before last year, accounted for about a quarter of the firm’s prospective buyers.

    Chinese real-estate buyers are suddenly descending on the Seattle region. Some are lured by perceptions the coastal city is a bargain, others by warm memories of the 2013 Chinese film “Finding Mr. Right,” which put Seattle on the pop-culture radar there.

    The biggest draw, though, might be the fact that it isn’t Vancouver. In August, the Canadian province of British Columbia imposed a 15% tax on foreign investment in the city, which until recently was a popular destination for Chinese. The tax applies to anyone who isn’t a citizen or permanent resident of Canada and buys a home in metro Vancouver.






    The provincial government says the tax policy is aimed at making homes in the city more affordable for local residents, who have seen prices soar by nearly 50% over the past three years. The city of Vancouver also introduced a separate vacancy tax of 1% on the assessed value of an empty property.

    The moves have had a chilling effect. Web searches in China for Vancouver properties dropped 37% in December compared with a year ago, according to Juwai.com, an online real-estate portal that targets Chinese home seekers.

    Seattle, by contrast, is red hot. Searches for Seattle properties in China jumped 125% year-over-year in November, after increasing 71% in October, according to Juwai. They rose 1.8% in December.
    Kyle Moss, a real-estate agent at Redfin, said he received a call from a Chinese man within 72 hours of the tax passing who said he represented 20 families interested in buying real estate in Seattle. Mr. Moss said for some, the appeal is being near family and friends who own in Vancouver, 120 miles away.

    It is too early to quantify the effect of Chinese interest on Seattle’s home sales, and no one tracks the ethnicities of buyers in particular markets. But the sudden surge in interest in Seattle comes at a time when it already ranks among the nation’s hottest real-estate markets. It led the U.S. in home-price growth in November, according to a report released Tuesday by S&P CoreLogic Case-Shiller Indices, which found prices there increased by more than 10% over the same month in 2015.

    Some places that have been favorites for Chinese in recent years—including London, Australia and, most recently, New York—are rolling out policies that discourage foreign purchasers.

    In the U.K. in late 2014, the cost of buying homes valued at more than £937,000, or $1.17 million at current exchange rates, went up on a sliding scale, rising to a 12% tax on the portion of a sale over £1.5 million. In April, an additional 3% was tacked on to the sale price of homes for foreign buyers or for those renting out their properties.

    Australia bars foreigners from purchasing resale properties, and some states also have imposed taxes on foreign purchasers. In New York, the mayor last week proposed a 2.5% tax on properties of $2 million or more, a favorite category of foreigners.

    Mike O’Brien, a Seattle City Council member, said he is exploring measures, including a vacancy tax, to combat another trend that has irked Vancouver residents: foreign investors who leave homes vacant and untended. “It baffles me that people would buy real estate here and not fill it up,” he said.

    Stella Guo, a third-year university student from China, and her family recently purchased two waterfront properties in Seattle for more than $5 million each. The family owns a Chinese development company and is looking at building projects in the northwestern U.S.

    Ms. Guo, who attends college in Arizona, said she doesn’t plan to live in Seattle full-time but wanted a place for her and her family to relax on vacation and was drawn to Seattle’s temperate climate, according to answers to emailed questions provided by her real-estate agent, Robert Pong, senior global real-estate adviser at Realogics Sotheby’s International Realty.

    Lili Shang, an agent at the Seattle-area agency, said she is seeing many Chinese families and investors looking to sell property in Vancouver and move their money to Seattle because of the tax. “I think people realize that Vancouver is no more a fun place to do investments,” she said.

    https://www.wsj.com/articles/for-chi...ver-1486500393



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  2. #2
    Senior Member Judy's Avatar
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    Wow, all the poor starving Communist Chinese buying up Seattle. Who knew?! So I guess every American who wanted a nice home to live in lost out to a foreign Chinese investor. Pretty strange if you ask me.
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    Senior Member JohnDoe2's Avatar
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    They built towering new cities in China. Now they're trying it in downtown L.A.

    1,500 residential units in three condo towers, some with ocean views. They priced properties at between $500,000 for the lowest end and $6.9 million for the premier penthouses.
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    Senior Member Judy's Avatar
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    It's crazy!! Why aren't they investing in their own countries where people need the homes and the jobs?
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    Senior Member JohnDoe2's Avatar
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    Simplified process helps Chinese retirees in US get pensions from overseas

    Updated: 2015-08-28 11:47

    By Li Jing in New York(China Daily USA)


    It's just gotten easier for Chinese retirees living in the United States, including those who have obtained a green card, to get their pensions from China, according to the Chinese consulate general in New York.


    Since July 1, the process for applicants in the US has been simplified to require a qualification review form, both the original and a copy of their passport and a certificate of legal residence in the country.


    The review form is available at the Chinese Embassy in the US and five consulates-general in other cities.


    "The policy updated from July 1 is to make it easier and more convenient for Chinese living abroad to claim their money," said Feng Xiao of the Chinese consulate general in New York.


    People in China usually begin to receive their pensions a month after finalizing their retirement.


    However, many retirees living abroad just give up trying to claim the money because of the difficulty in contacting the right department and many are unaware or concerned they'll be rejected if applying for the benefits from overseas.


    The update is in line with the rise of retired Chinese living in the US. According to China Radio International, more than 2 million Chinese immigrants are now living in the US and the number of Chinese retirees opting to live in the US is on the rise.


    The policy has been carried out for decades. However, after a recent Yangcheng Evening News report, the practice sparked wide debate online in China, especially the fact that Chinese retirees who have obtained a US green card are being covered under the Chinese pension plan.


    Some complained it was unfair to allow Chinese Americans to collect pensions from China. A netizen called Aodaliya wrote on Sina weibo: "China still has many uncovered by the urban pension system, who face big problems for their aging life. The country needs to address the aging problem domestically prior to overseas."


    On the other hand, there are some supporters. Chang Kai, a labor expert with Renmin University, says the policy is mostly about fairness.


    "The pension benefits depend on one's contribution payments made during their working life. It will continue to exist wherever you are. It's a kind of debt obligation the government has that will never change, even if one's citizenship changes," said Chang.


    The heated responses reflect the crisis faced by China's pension system and the looming pension shortfall caused by China's aging population. The government has moved aggressively to expand pension coverage in recent years but for most residents that coverage is meager.


    By February, the number of Chinese aged 65 and older had risen to 137 million, accounting for a record 10 percent of the population, according to China's National Bureau of Statistics. The number will rise to 331 million by 2050, while the number of those aged 15-64 will fall to 849 million, according to projections by the UN. The ratio of those aged 65 and over to those aged 15-64 will rise from 13 per cent in 2015 to 39 percent by 2050.


    Yang Guihong from Beijing University of Technology said in some countries, like the UK, people can collect retirement welfare after obtaining local citizenship, which means some Chinese can get double pensions. "That is part of the rage of netizens in China," Yang said.


    Guan Xinping of Nankai University notes this is a common practice throughout the world.


    "Many countries, especially member states of the European Union, have signed agreements to ensure retirees who had worked in different countries receive their pensions through a single account," Guan told CRI.


    lijing2009@chinadaily.com.cn

    (China Daily USA 08/28/2015 page2)

    http://usa.chinadaily.com.cn/epaper/...t_21730613.htm
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  7. #7
    Senior Member JohnDoe2's Avatar
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    Almost 90 percent of the buyers are foreigners. And they all paid cash. . .

    Foreign investors not scared of housing market
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