Chinese investment in foreign real estate quadrupled in 2013, according to research from property consultancy CBRE, and demand - driven by China's increasing numbers of high net worth individuals seeking offshore investments - shows little sign of abating.
Last year alone, an estimated £3.5 billion was invested in the UK property market, much of it poured into prime central London property. One of the key factors behind the growth in Chinese investment is education; huge numbers of Chinese children are now being educated in the UK's top schools. At independent primary and secondary schools in the UK, 37% of children have parents from China or Hong Kong. Other drivers include the liberalisation of the RMB and a push to improve UK-China trade relations, such as the relaxing of visa rules.
Although most outbound investment is still confined to gateway cities such as London, New York and Sydney, CBRE suggests that more Chinese investors are starting to try secondary cities such as Manchester, Frankfurt, Seattle, boosting the property markets in these locations.
Reaching Chinese Investors
Typically, Chinese investors are looking to buy new build properties in the most desirable city centre locations. They will carry out research online, deciding which areas they are interested in, before attending property exhibitions or heading to Chinese-language property websites like Juwai.com. Juwai.com is China's largest and most popular property portal with 1.5 million unique visitors per month, featuring over 2 million property listings and a significant pool of articles and buying guides for the Chinese investor.
Chinese buyers remain unlikely to visit English-language websites, making native listings on popular local search engines such as Baidu and So.com essential for sellers. Listing properties on Chinese portals will achieve this, but real estate agents who are targeting Chinese investors more actively may choose to consider their own Chinese-language websites.
An independent website listed on Baidu adds significant credibility to agents selling to Chinese investors; paired with a local point of contact - which could be a virtual office or contact service - this makes agents appear accountable and trustworthy to buyers.
For more information on Chinese online market entry and how real estate agents can best target Chinese investors, please contact our team.