Manhattan south facing condo, similar to those being sought after by Chinese investors.
“60 percent of China’s wealthiest are contemplating a move [overseas]” – Juwai.com, a website geared towards connecting Chinese investors with properties overseas: 4.8 million property listings in 58 countries on their site.
This is a fascinating topic, especially for someone who lived a decade plus in China. There is a plethora of stories, reports and articles about the economic miracle that has been China since the early to mid-1990s, which almost seems a bit old hat now as it has been part of our political and economic landscape for quite a while. In the past 10 years or so, though, the world has witnessed special tours of Chinese out of the Mainland other than just for travelling, as they are exiting the country in droves for reasons of plastic and body surgeries, having babies, and shopping sprees for luxury items such as handbags, watches and vehicles. However, who would have envisioned the wealthiest of Chinese taking the great leap forward and investing abroad in real estate, given how hard it is to actually get the RMB currency OUT of China? According to a recent article in Bloomberg online, not only are Chinese paying $250 000 for a luxury 7 day real estate tour alone, but are investing upwards of $1 million US for a residential property buy, on the fly no less. The article talks about a well-heeled woman in her mid-30s who ‘impulsively’ purchased a $4 million dollar US condo in Manhattan on one of these special tours – in cash!
Lo and behold, I discovered that a good friend of mine, Bianca Weber-Lewerenz, who I knew from my expat entrepreneur community years back in Beijing, is doing a similar thing. She originally went to China from Germany and used her special engineering skills and expertise to start up Woodford International Ltd, a consulting company that focuses on assisting builders, home owners, and developers with construction services, from a European perspective. However, being the avid entrepreneur that she is, Bianca decided to extend her experience from China back to Europe in the form of real estate and investment style tours. Her intercultural background, as well as connections to German and French developers and investment companies, is a major appeal for Chinese who take her tours. Culturally, she not only knows where they are coming from but is familiar with where they are investing to. “My costs of a freelance engineering consultant are paid in advance (daily basis), and they can be recalculated against the final purchase in case of a successful business [abroad]”. Bianca adds that the Chinese that she works with have a good insight of the market and ask very detailed questions about what it is they are seeing and hopefully purchasing. However, the most important focus for these investors, of course, is price and value development for the future. She value adds by offering remodelling, interior design services herself, and can offer up licensed specialists in architecture, HVAC and other related services. A great advantage for keeping it all relatively direct, transparent and above all, efficient.
I could see this phenomenon coming to Canada. Just the other day I was reading an article online from Propertyshowrooms.com that stated that Chinese are turning their sights to Canada for real estate investing, especially over the past 12-24 months. Executive managing director of Colliers, Kirk Keuster said: "Canada is a popular investment target for a number of reasons: One is that it has a stable economy, the other is the stable political environment and thirdly, it has a very regulated, balanced banking system”. This topic is putting interesting ideas into my head. Stay tuned … :)
Will Calgary be able to entice Chinese real estate investment tourism?
For more information about Woodford International Ltd, please contact Bianca Weber-Lewerenz @ +49 1573 7418 358.