China's property buyers eye overseas homes

16:30, September 19, 2010      

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As real estate prices in the capital climb through the roof, foreign immigration services are trying to get Beijingers to invest and settle down overseas.

Only one immigration service company attended the 2009 summertime real estate trade fair in Beijing. However, during the 2010 fair, June 24 to 27, eight such companies and overseas real estate sellers attended.

Foreign real estate agents were trying to lure Chinese investors with the fact that investors could make use of these programs to get permanent residential IDs, which means good healthcare and education.

Besides immigration services companies, several real estate developers and builders from the United States and Australia attended the autumn Beijing real estate trade fair.

Seva Felakori, sales marketing director with Oasis Growth Partners, which was marketing houses in California told China Daily that this was their debut appearance at a Chinese real estate trade fair.

The company was invited to show their products and services by an immigration consulting company.

"House prices are relatively low in the US while the price in Beijing is very high. I believe our houses can attract some investors in Beijing," said Seva. "There might not be any immediate responses, but I hope people will start to think about these great opportunities."

However, compared with the optimism and confidence of the immigration agents and overseas developers, visitors at the fair seemed to be less enthusiastic.

A former government official, who wished to remain anonymous, said that though he owns six apartments and houses around the world, including three apartments in Beijing, one in Hong Kong, one in Melbourne in Australia and one in Nice in France, he never thought about emigrating.

"I like to purchase houses abroad for my relatives and myself, but I will never emigrate because I like the lifestyle in Beijing. It is hard to get used to another culture," he said.

A middle-aged woman named Lin Fang, who was interested in American real estate investment, also said she wasn't thinking of emigrating.

"Stocks and real estate markets are not as good as before, so I began to think about investment in United States and Canada, but I don't think I will emigrate," she said.

Xiao Bo from Beijing Sino-Canada Mercan Investment Consulting Co., Ltd, said that so far in 2010 they had accepted about 10 applications every month for overseas investment.

"I lived in Canada for seven years. According to my personal experience, I believe that China has become more open to the idea of emigration," said Xiao.

"Most investors still focus on the Asian-Pacific region because that is where their business is, but for their retirement and children's education, they would love to emigrate to developed countries such as Canada and US," he said.

By People's Daily Online


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