Chinese nationals have been buying U.S. residential real estate at a fast clip for the last few years. Now they are building it, setting their sights on some of the priciest parcels of land in the hopes of attracting U.S. and Chinese buyers alike.
"The Chinese real estate market is very competitive, and the U.S. housing market is recovering and expanding rapidly, so for us as a company to invest a certain amount in the U.S. makes a lot of sense for us," said Tian Ming, chairman of Landsea, a China-based developer, through an interpreter.
Landsea, which bills itself as China's "pre-eminent green builder," is investing $1 billion in the U.S. housing market, beginning with three new developments. It will build condominiums in the New York City market, townhomes in San Francisco and single-family homes in the Los Angeles area.
"Our primary customer is still here domestically in the U.S., but because of our background and who we are and our brand in China, we will get Chinese customers who will want to buy our homes," said Tian, standing on an empty parking lot in Weehawken, New Jersey.
Two hundred condominium units are planned for the site, which boasts spectacular views of the Manhattan skyline. Landsea purchased the property from U.S. home builder Lennar, which will design and build the project in much the same fashion as its own new condo building, which neighbors the property.
"We have enjoyed our association with Landsea and expect to see great things from them as they continue their journey in the U.S.," said Bruce Gross, Lennar's chief financial officer.
Lennar has already enjoyed great business from Chinese buyers in its Southern California housing developments. Chinese parents are flocking to California especially, buying homes there so that their children can attend American high schools and universities. Lennar, and other U.S. builders, have even implemented Feng Shui design in some of their homes to accommodate the Asian buyer.
"China's investment is spiking now because there is a fear by many Chinese nationals that their capital is not secure in China itself, and so they are looking for other places to invest," said Ben Thypin, director of market analysis at Real Capital Analytics.
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Ben Carlos Thypin
I am currently the co-founder of Quantierra, the world's first data driven real estate brokerage and investment manager. In my former life as Director of Market Analysis at Real Capital Analytics, I worked with press outlets large and small to provide them with great data and insightful commentary. Here are some of the results of this collaboration. For the rest, please check out the News Archive.