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Chinese house hunters venture overseas (2)

By Zhao Yanrong and Lu Chang (China Daily)

08:52, December 24, 2012

Chinese families, ranging from the highly affluent to the middle class' upper crust, are showing a keener interest in purchasing overseas housing.

They are primarily driven abroad not only because of China's soaring housing prices but because of the government's curbs on property ownership in the past two years in an attempt to cool prices. The central government is also studying a nationwide property tax, according to Reuters.

Overseas property markets are now becoming more attractive as a consequence. And many Western countries are taking advantage of the newfound interest.

In September, more than 140 land developers, real estate agencies and immigration agents from outside the Chinese mainland showcased their housing projects at China World Trade Center. That tally was a record for the expo in its 20-year history.

Wei Kefei, a director at the Beijing International Property Expo, said moving abroad, securing a sound education and diversifying asset portfolios are the top three reasons why Chinese are purchasing overseas properties.

"Beijing has good educational resources and that is why apartments are expensive," Wang said.

The numerous promotions being peddled by overseas real estate agencies at the Beijing international expo shed light on the growing interest from Chinese families.

Many countries promoted their properties for the first time at the biggest annual housing event in Beijing. The largest international exhibition group with more than 30 booths was Cyprus, an island country in the eastern Mediterranean Sea that few Chinese people know about.

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