Prediction for 2014: Watch for the wave of affluent Chinese to become an even bigger force in the U.S. luxury market. Already the second largest foreign buyer group in the U.S. (after Canadians), wealthy Chinese are drawn to the U.S. (and Canada) for several reasons:
- Growing numbers of affluent Chinese choose to send their children to North America for their university degrees. Major university towns will see growing numbers of Chinese buyers as Mom and Dad look for a condo for the student and perhaps a luxury home for use when they visit. Sometimes a student in the U.S. or Canada is the first step toward relocation.
- Chinese, who are looking to make a favorable currency play, invest where there is economic value and political stability. Expect them to continue to gravitate to cities where there are Asian population centers – San Francisco and Vancouver are good examples.
- Look for very wealthy Chinese, who want status (both here and back home), to snag trophy properties in Manhattan, San Francisco, Los Angeles, Vancouver and a few other major cities with global recognition.
- The influx of Chinese banks and Chinese construction companies working in the U.S. is bringing Chinese into a variety of new metro markets, some large, some mid-sized.
- Markets ravaged in the downturn are attracting Chinese investors who have pockets full of Yuan and their eyes on the U.S. for residential, as well as commercial and industrial investment.
- The EB-5 program, which allows foreigner to invest $500,000 to create ten U.S. jobs and in exchange, receive a U.S. green card, is opening the door to more wealthy Chinese. Although this program is available to people from around the world, the overwhelming majority have come from China. Expect that to continue.
Depending upon your market, Chinese buyers may represent one opportunity for growing your business in 2014.