Chinese buyers have been purchasing more and more American real estate, and one location seems to be a major attraction for them: Florida. As South American investments in the state slow down, developers and brokers from the Sunshine State are actively catering to this Chinese market. Representatives from the state travel to Beijing and Shanghai to woo investors and translate sales materials into Mandarin, selling the area’s warm weather, beaches, shopping, and nightlife.
From March 2014 to March 2015, Chinese buyers topped Canadians as the biggest foreign purchasers of US homes, both in sales at 16% of foreign transactions and dollar value at $28.6 billion spent. Foreign investment is only 4% of America’s real estate market. However, Chinese buyers are valuable customers: they spend an average of 3.25 times more on homes than American buyers, paying an average home price of $831,800.
Orlando and Miami are the two cities that receive the most investment from Chinese home-buyers, often because of their luxury condominiums. In the two counties near Miami, Chinese buyers doubled their closed sales in the span of two years, purchasing 2% of properties. Northern Jacksonville also received plenty of investment in the past year. All total as of last December, there were 302 pre-construction projects in South Florida.
Miami and Orlando attract buyers looking for luxury properties that are still less expensive than in some of America’s larger cities, such as New York City or San Francisco. There are obstacles to Chinese investment and tourism in Florida; for example, there are no direct flights from Beijing, Shanghai, or Hong Kong to Miami or Orlando. But Florida’s real estate firms are still looking for new opportunities through China’s continued interest in American homes.
Meghana Nerurkar is a Research Intern at the East-West Center in Washington and an undergraduate student at American University.