Orange County and the rest of the extended LA metro area is among the favorite American housing markets for prospective buyers from China. According to a recent report conducted by Investorist, an online platform for real estate transactions, Chinese buyers are the most dominant foreign investors in the United States housing market, and they cannot be dismissed as opportunistic buyers.
Investorist conducted interviews with clients of more than 100 real estate agencies in China that specialize in matching Chinese investors with American properties. The interviews indicated that these prospective buyers seek metropolitan markets with prominent educational opportunities for their children. To this effect, they like Orange County and other areas served by the University of California system, which has a very strong reputation in the Asian community. Other housing markets favored by Chinese investors include Miami, Boston, New York and San Francisco.
When the U.S. housing market crashed in 2008, certain housing markets attracted a fast influx of opportunistic buyers who wanted to take advantage of the bargains created by distressed real estate assets. Back then, investigative reports revealed that Brazilians were flocking to Miami while Russians focused on New York City. Chinese investors set their sights on Detroit, a housing market of deep bargains.
The current wave of Chinese real estate investing in the U.S. is different than it was in 2008. Current buyers are not flippers; they are families seeking to settle permanently. It is important for these buyers to retain counsel who can help them clear title issues, draft real estate agreements, negotiate contract terms, understand zoning laws and more. Quite a few Chinese investors who rushed to Detroit with suitcases full of cash in 2008 were blindsided by legal issues with their properties. Such situations can be avoided with adequate representation.