Facing Declining Coastal Inventories, Chinese Real Estate Investors Are Coming to DFW

Little boxes on the hillside.EXPAND
Little boxes on the hillside.

Saturday, The New York Times reported that Chinese real estate investors, frustrated with prices and a lack of available property in areas in which they typically invest, are turning their eyes to the United States' interior. Specifically, they're looking at Corinth, of all places.

Zhang Long, a Beijing businessman, is developing a 99-house McMansion ranch in the exurb, hoping to lure families and investors from mainland China with concierge service, available space for aging parents and chauffeurs to get everyone around until they learn to navigate North Texas traffic.

A September report released by the Texas Association of Realtors confirms that Asian participation in the DFW real estate market is growing rapidly. In April 2013, 18 percent of internationally based home buyers in the area were from Asia or Oceania. By April 2014, that number had nearly doubled, to 31 percent.

Bernice and David Maez, the co-founders of Vivo Realty in Uptown, say the Times report and the Texas Association of Realtors numbers back up what they're seeing at their own business. They're helping more buyers from China buy more property.

"Just within our brokerage, there are several agents that are dealing with Chinese buyers. The thing with Chinese buyers is, they have cash," David says. "When you're dealing with multiple offers, cash buyers are going to be more attractive to sellers than people like first-time home buyers and people that are doing traditional financing."

In New York City, there has been backlash against foreign property investment because of the lack of owner-occupied housing that comes with it. Housing costs are artificially driven up, the thinking goes, by people who aren't even paying personal income taxes in the city.

The Maezes say local Chinese investment, at least at their brokerage, has come both from people who are buying property with the intention of leasing it to locals, and investors who are moving to the area.

"It's common to see families who want to have extended family live with them," Bernice says. "I have a couple now, their daughter and son-in-law, they're trying to purchase a home now with their parents, who are actually in China. The parents are going to come out and occupy the 5,000-square-foot home with the daughter and son-in-law and then they will also be purchasing additional properties to lease."

As Chinese buying increases further, as the Maezes think it will, local buyers will face a difficult and expensive task.

"[Chinese investors] see an opportunity and they're seizing it. It will definitely be more of a challenge for our buyers that are here locally. That's something that we're having to educate the buyers to know — that when they're submitting offers, they might have to be willing to pay the asking price or over the asking price to get the home that they want," Bernice says.


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