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Wealthy Chinese Buyers Are a Growing Force in U.S. Real Estate Markets

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After a long and painful slide following the real estate collapse in 2008, Seattle’s property market is enjoying one of the sharpest rises anywhere in the United States. Buoyed by a rapidly expanding economy that has brought tens of thousands of high-paying jobs to the city, real estate values have nearly doubled since 2009, according to the online real estate database Zillow.

Yet while technology billionaires gobble up estates from Puget Sound to Lake Washington, Jim Conlan, a real estate broker with Century 21 North Homes Realty in Seattle, says the real catalyst for the dramatic upswing can be found in China.

“To be honest, Chinese buyers have been flooding this market the past few years,” says Conlan, who has been selling homes in Seattle for more than 30 years. “Some of them buy homes sight unseen, while others travel here for a kind of real estate tourism and buy real estate after only one viewing.”

Seattle is not alone. For the fourth year in a row, buyers from China ranked first among foreign nationals purchasing property in the United States, according to a survey by the National Association of Realtors (NAR). U.S. home sales to Chinese nationals totaled $27.3 billion — exceeding the total dollar sales figure of the next four countries in the rankings combined, the survey showed.

Chinese investment in U.S. real estate could hit $50 billion by 2025, according to a report by the Rosen Consulting Group and the Asia Society…

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