Are Chinese buyers coming back into the market?
Several months ago, when China was in a lock down, our enquiries spiked quite significantly. As mentioned previously, there are a few reasons for this.
While most parts of the world are still in a lock down, we can perhaps gain some insight about the recovery of the economy as we observe how China is going about the business of getting back to normal life.
For now, general enquiries from China have dropped
Here is what we are observing in China:
- Chinese buyers are busy getting adjusted back to the new “normal.”
- There is a focus on domestic activity within China
- For example, traveling within China, investing in local properties and buying incentives from the Chinese government have all helped to boost the local economy.
- New stocks have been released in bulk into the local market over the past months, where previously they were very strictly regulated. It will not be a surprise to see new government regulations that lower restrictions for Chinese investors in order to boost the local market. (For the past 10 years, there have been restrictions for Chinese investing interstate: for example, someone living in Chongqing was only allowed to buy investment properties in Chongqing and Chinese citizens were not allowed to invest in Tier 1 cities like Shanghai and Beijing.)
3. Chinese are observing how other countries are dealing with the pandemic.
- Issues like lack of health care insurance and facilities in some countries are surfacing; something buyers may not have thought so much about it before.
- Racism - negative news in western media towards Chinese during this period may affect how Chinese people who plan to migrate overseas, may feel about a country.
- Observation on how some countries are handling immigrants with permanent residency visas/golden visas. Chinese people are noticing if friends or family, who are living abroad as permanent residents, are being treated fairly. This may influence their choice to migrate to certain countries.
- Patriotism in China is high right now. Investing or migrating to another country may not be top-of-mind for Chinese citizens right now.
So, who IS buying now?
Pre-pandemic“hot” buyers are trying to get into the market as quickly as possible to take advantage of dropping property prices and currencies.
- These buyers generally have a very strong incentive to buy; their child may be studying in the country, they have plans to migrate and the buyers' market is appealing to them. Countries like USA, Canada, Australia, New Zealand and the UK, have a high number of international students and immigrants.
- We have a high number of urgent enquiries where buyers are eager to finish the transaction if they were in the process of doing so prior to the pandemic.
Will buyers come back again?
From my observation, there will be a quiet period before things get busy again in China. Like the rest of the world, everyone is unsure of what is going to happen next, so buyers are holding back from doing anything, if they have that option. I am confident that real estate activity will resume, as the Chinese culture of buying and investing in overseas property has historically been very strong. For now, Chinese buyers are assessing their criteria on where and when to migrate and invest.
As quoted in the Financial Times recently, many other industry partners have observed the same pattern and buyers are biding their time for now.
In the meantime, it is time for us to prepare for the floodgates to open again.
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