Chinese interest in US property surges after visa rules eased

US propertyUS property is top of the agenda for Chinese investors. China’s property market is overheated, with entire ghost cities of skyscrapers standing empty following years of frenzied construction activity, so it is hardly surprising that they have been looking elsewhere for opportunities. Exchange controls make it difficult to invest beyond China’s borders, though, so it is hardly surprising that wealthy Chinese families immediately spotted a real estate investment opportunity when China and the US eased visa rules. An international property portal reports that interest in real estate opportunities in the US surged dramatically on the news of the relaxation on student visas. Chinese parents want to use the opportunity to buy property for their children to live in while they are studying abroad. – JC

HONG KONG, Nov 14 (Reuters) – Chinese inquiries about real estate investment in the United States surged 35 percent this week after the two countries agreed to extend the terms of short-term visas, China’s top international property portal said on Friday.

The White House announced this week that both countries have extended the terms of multiple entry short-term tourist and business visas to 10 years from one year. Student visas were extended to five years from one year.

The relaxation on student visas could have a bigger impact than the other two, said Juwai.com, an online propertymarketplace that refers potential Chinese buyers to overseas agents. It said there were twice the number of inquiries about student visas compared to tourist and business visas.

Simon Henry, co-chief executive officer of Juwai.com, said many parents of Chinese students buy property in the United States for their children to live in.

“Eighty-five percent of wealthy Chinese want to educate their children overseas,” he added. “Chinese individuals who are considering investing in the U.S. are very encouraged by the new visa arrangements, as it removes one of their biggest headaches.”

The United States is the top destination for inquiries about home purchases by Chinese buyers, according to Juwai.com’s data, followed by Australia, Canada and Britain. (Reporting by Clare Jim; Editing by Jeremy Laurence)

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