Foreign buyers spent $102.6 billion on residential properties in the United States in 2015, according to the National Association of Realtors. And while purchases by buyers from Canada and the United Kingdom have recently fallen, they have surged from China, reaching around $27.3 billion last year.
Specialists expect those figures to only increase as the swelling ranks of wealthy Chinese look for ways to diversify their holdings outside of China and gain a foothold here — either for themselves or for their children who are studying in the states. A study by Rosen Consulting Group, a real estate economics firm in Berkeley, Calif., predicted Chinese buyers could spend $50 billion on US homes by 2025.
For proof that Boston has become a luxury housing mecca for wealthy people from around the world, look no farther than Downtown Crossing.
At the high-end Millennium Tower, buyers have come from Greece, Hong Kong, and the Middle East, buying two or three condos apiece. There’s a real estate executive in San Francisco who markets luxury US properties in Asia, and claims on her website that she’s sold 7 percent of the tower — around 30 units.
A immigrant from China, Bingyi Chen, has bought more than 16 condos on behalf of investors in his native country, according to property records and his real estate agent. He paid $15.6 million in total. All cash. The 16 units are listed for rent, starting at $4,100 a month, with the proceeds heading back to investors in China.
It’s all about the investment opportunity. It’s also an example of the global housing market in action.
With its crop of luxury condominium buildings sprouting out of the ground, Boston is an increasingly popular destination for international real estate investors looking to park their cash in an uncertain global economy. The city is a bit cheaper than New York or San Francisco, but boasts a stable economy, world-class universities, and a growing list of international flights.