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Chinese house hunters venture overseas (5)

By Zhao Yanrong and Lu Chang (China Daily)

08:52, December 24, 2012

To attract Chinese buyers, other US developers have taken quirky measures to appeal to Chinese sensibilities. Some are reserving units on floors with the numbers five or eight, which in China are associated with bringing happiness and good luck.

But the bottom line for Chinese investors interested in European properties is the bottom line.

Huang Shucheng, CEO of, a real estate website based in Shanghai, said around 40 percent of Chinese investors in the British market are aiming for high returns on their investments.

Asian buyers accounted for 31 percent of investors in London's newly built homes in 2011, compared with 14 percent in 1992.

The Chinese have become the fourth-largest buyers in London's second-hand property market, said Louis Bai, CEO of the Beijing office of Barratt Homes, a UK property developer.

Bai said that many Chinese buyers are purchasing properties in London as an investment because of the city's rising property prices.

According to a survey by SouFun International, more than 70 percent of Chinese investors expect minimum annual earning rates of 7-13 percent.

Huang said he deals with many Chinese buyers interested in homes located at the county of Cambridgeshire, where the primary settlement is Cambridge.

One property along Rusts Avenue, he said, sold for 185,000 pounds ($300,860), and could be rented for around 950 pounds a month. The return is more than 6 percent, which would be highly prized by Chinese buyers.

"Since last year, when many cities (in China) limited the number of homes one could purchase, many Chinese people went abroad to buy a house. My business in the British market has grown by about 30 percent since 2011, and purchases in Canada have increased even more," he said.

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