Chinese Trolling Streets of US for Bargains

December 8, 2008 No Comments »


As U.S. housing prices continue to plummet, wealthy Chinese citizens are cruising the streets of America in Hummers and Lincoln Navigators looking for cheap real estate, according to a report in the LA Times.

Per the publication, “home-buying trips to America” are becoming a more sought after tour package for the Chinese, thanks to an easing in U.S. visa rules and foreign investment policies.

One such tour, led by Soufun Holdings, focuses on homes priced between $200,000 and $300,000, a bracket that is without doubt growing in supply as home prices slip ever so further.

According to DataQuick, the median price paid for a home in California during October was just $278,000, down 34.4 percent from the $424,000 seen a year earlier, likely enticing the more than 391,000 millionaire households in mainland China.

Liu Jian, chief operating officer at Soufun Holdings, told the Times more than 300 people have signed up a trip to Southern California at a cost of about $2,200, excluding airfare.

Apparently the whole thing started organically, as Chinese tourists drove the streets and encountered for sale sign after for sale sign.

It sparked interest, and eventually became a focus for the tours, mirroring similar ventures back home where prospective buyers travel in groups to search for apartments.

While the idea of foreign investors buying up our housing bargains isn’t without criticism, at least someone is buying, right?

(photo: joi)

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