It’s not just crazy rich Chinese looking for US homes

American property is growing in appeal to China’s middle class, and stateside lenders are willing to help

A tourist looks toward the Manhattan skyline from Brooklyn park. Maridev/Shutterstock

While Chinese penchant for US residential real estate is not new, middle-income buyers from mainland China are increasingly joining their cashed-up compatriots in seeking stateside homes, CNBC reported.

The trend is consistent with data from the National Association of Realtors (NAR) showing that the median price of a US home sold to a Chinese buyer stood at USD439,000 in 2018, down from USD530,000 in 2017.

“The Chinese people still see the United States as a safe harbor where they can take their assets and park their money not only for their money but also for the future of their children,” Michi Olson, a San Francisco-based real estate agent, told CNBC.

Lenders from California to Texas have adjusted mortgage underwriting standards to serve this seemingly new set of Chinese buyers, most of whom are not used to putting down cold cash for million-dollar residences.

“It is difficult to get loan approval on foreign buyers unless they put 50 percent or more down on a home, but several lenders specialize in this market now, so it is getting easier,” observed Laura Barnett of RE/MAX DFW Associates.

Chinese property seekers are confident with their purchases despite the unravelling trade ties between their motherland and the states, with Olson calling them “basically politically agnostic.”

“What I mean by that is even though there is a great tension between [the] US government and Chinese, the Chinese citizen seems to be able to separate the political turmoil with the sound real estate investment,” said Olson.