We now find ourselves in a ‘golden age for Chinese international real estate investment. With increasing disposable incomes, more upper/middle-class retail buyers, and GDP growth at around 7% per year the most popular method for preserving wealth is to invest in property abroad. Indeed, Chinese investment totaled $16.1 billion in overseas real estate in the first half of 2016, more than double the amount in the same period last year, reported real estate consultancy firm CBRE.
Canada has long been associated with the property from the Chinese perspective and is now the third most popular choice behind the US and Australia. With their strong housing market, attractive lifestyle, and quality infrastructure the cosmopolitan cities of Toronto, Vancouver, and Montreal all boast significant Han Chinese populations.
Demand Continues to Rising
Inquiries for Canadian homes on Juwai.com, a leading property search engine that lists real estate from around the world for Chinese buyers, rose by 134% in the first quarter of 2016. Inquires included the total number of queries sent to an agent, developer, or seller of Canadian property. These figures are dramatic but this is a country undergoing huge economic and social changes with changing demands and expectations being made by wealthy buyers.
A safe haven for their money
The Chinese want to make safe investments to preserve their wealth and Canada is considered to be a stable market option. This priority is emphasized amid instability in the Chinese economy and stock market, the lower value of the RMB, and government restrictions on capital flight. A Juwai survey of real estate agents working with mainland buyers found that 55% expected international property purchases to increase as a ‘safe haven for cash’.
Rising Property Prices in China
Property prices in Hong Kong and Shanghai have gone through the roof. Apartments in central locations can now set you back closer to $3 million. Indeed, a two-bedroom unit in ‘Wonderful Place’, a complex of highrise towers in Shanghai with a minuscule balcony, a galley kitchen, and no closets will set you back $2 million (Canadian). Shenzhen one of the leading, newly built cities in China saw a 60% increase last year in house prices alone. Amidst this backdrop of higher pricing, the discerning investor looks to spend on high-value property in stable international markets such as Canada.
1 flat in Shanghai = 5 Canadian Detached Homes
Demand in Vancouver: Luxury Homes
The demand for luxury Vancouver condos has now not outstripped the available supply whilst during the last Lunar New Year holiday alone Vancouver saw 119 sales of detached homes. Vancouver’s prices are increasing with the large existing Chinese community a strong attraction for other wealthy Mainlanders.
Vancouver because of its long-term association with property and the Chinese has over time become viewed as the most upmarket, luxury destination for home ownership in Canada. Indeed, last year three-quarters of the properties for sale in West Vancouver were sold to the Chinese, and the average price of a detached home is $2.4 million USD.
The rise of other Canadian cities
It’s not just about Vancouver anymore. ‘Charlie Gills’ a specialist from Macleans Magazine spoke of how Toronto is catching up when it comes to interest from Mainland China; “In fact, there is more interest in terms of searching for properties in Toronto now than Vancouver.. Even Ottowa comes up number four on that list”.
On Juwai the top Canadian city by total value searched is Toronto, it more than tripled to a total value of $7.4 billion. Quebec has witnessed the highest increase in interest with $764 million worth of property searched, triple the figure in 2014.
A more internationalized quality of life
This is all part of a developing, wider trend of international purchasing from China. The nation has opened up to foreign influence like never before in its tumultuous history with changing lifestyle standards and priorities. Funds are therefore increasingly used for both commercial and residential property developments.
Canada is seen as offering this international, cosmopolitan lifestyle that so many younger Chinese ‘millennials’ are growing up to expect. The focus on English language learning is also a priority with studying and learning abroad considered the most respected route by Chinese employers. Wealthy Chinese will buy up properties for their children to reside in whilst they study in the country.
Canada not only offers quality education but is also renowned for its natural beauty, liberal values, and environmental preservation. These are all stronger concerns for the younger generation who will drive this trend in years to come.
How do generate property leads from the Chinese market?
The question all Real Estate companies are considering
The key question is this: how do you generate serious, qualified property leads from China? The answer is targeted communications and marketing efforts online. Chinese online user is incredibly discerning, particularly large-budget investor. They will research extensively to find the best property agent or consultation service to use in Canada.
- Quality Chinese Website, because don’t Chinese Rich People expect quality?
A quality site, optimized for Mandarin keyword searches, hosted on a Chinese server with a .cn domain is vital. Content on the website needs to be reworked into Mandarin, direct translations are never effective. Communicating your USP and values to the Chinese investor on the website is key with local testimonials and case studies adding weight to your value proposition.
- Making you visible on Baidu (China’s Google). They will search to find the best deal
Baidu is the largest search engine in the mysterious orient with 70% of all online research conducted via this channel. The level of traffic generated through effective SEO (search engine optimization) is significant when you consider China’s 900 million netizens.
It is vital to optimize the site based on the most widely searched Chinese keywords and terms. Appearing highly ranked in the natural search results leads to visibility and creates a positive reputation.. the essence of lead generation in China.
- Property Forums, will search for advice
Property Forums remain very popular. Often forum results and comments on Tieba, Zhihu (Q&A), or Douban will appear alongside an official website after a Baidu keyword search. Here you need to focus on creating a positive reputation, creating relevant topics and conversation. The power of Chinese users vocalizing the benefits of your services is far more potent than messages delivered by any official company.
- WeChat – Tap into 850 million users
Chinese social media remains an important part of any marketing strategy. The Chinese are glued to social apps, particularly WeChat. There are over 850 million active monthly users on this behemoth of a social network. An official account can be set up on WeChat which functions like a ‘mini site’ and presents your information.
WeChat is a key site for ‘branding’, the term is not often associated with property investment but in China, buyers are looking for how a service is branded. How can it specifically help the local investor? WeChat is also important for sharing content and articles, it is sometimes referred to as the ‘WeChat Times’ because so many users receive their news and information from this source.
- News App Ad Articles, because rich investors read widely
News Apps are all the rage in China with adverts placed within the news itself. A well-constructed article, particularly on the property is not out of place amongst a Chinese app’s newsfeed and will be viewed seriously and professionally, this drives high-quality leads because it is a targeted approach based on specific Mandarin keyword searches.
Top Ressources about Chinese Real estate
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