In 2015, 712,157 Chinese students headed out of the country to study abroad, setting a new record, why is studying abroad in so popular in China. China has a fast-growing, middle class student population, seeking an international education is one of the principal drivers of outbound real estate investment from China. Education is of very high priority for Chinese families, as it represents the best way to socially raise their standing and will benefit several generations. If your real estate agency doesn’t include this Chinese focus on education in your value proposition, you’re missing deals from China.


Education drives Chinese overseas real estate investments


70% of Chinese buyer enquiries in 2015 were tied to education (source: Juwai Data).2

  • US is the top destination for Chinese for both education and real estate investment.
  • In 2015, more Chinese students enrollment in US colleges: 304,040 (new record).
  • Australia is the 2nd most popular country and the property investment linked to education was estimated at $1 billion ($745 million) in 2015.

Confirming this correlation between education and real estate Chinese investment, the Hurun Report ‘2015 Annual Chinese HNWIs Asset Allocation White Paper’ indicates that school districts are the most preferred locations for Chinese real estate investors in their property searches.


Aside from this important factor in Chinese real estate investment and reinforcing this phenomenon, an other important trend has emerged: Tiger Mums


Supported by easier visitor visa policies , Chinese mothers even migrate in order to assist their children and to lay the foundations for long-term emigration overseas… This also means ultimately buy a house instead of renting as it’s a better long term investment. Here short term letting is also popular whilst students and their families weigh up their options overseas.

The flow of Chinese students studying overseas continue to grow and this trend investment trend is impacting across the globe from Palo Alto to Paris, Cambridge to California, and from New York to New South Wales. London is a key area for student accommodation growth with Chinese student numbers increasing by 10-15% year on year.

There are several factors explaining why Chinese are obsessed with education abroad.

The Chinese students and their families criteria’s when looking at overseas schools and colleges are:


  • School/University Quality

China has only 2 mainland universities in the worldwide TOP 100 when US has 39, UK has 16, nine for Germany, and six for Australia.

A better university is seen as the key factor to social mobility and a well known global university on a CV makes a difference…


  • Heritage

Prestige and long-standing schools / universities strongly resonate with Chinese families. Schools like Harrow and Eton, and well renowned universities like Cambridge and Stanford are very popular amongst Chinese families.


  • Accessibility

Chinese students take the gaokao exam which is the National Higher Education Entrance Examination (over 9 millions students took this on June 14) and the sole decider of where you go for higher education. The Chinese college quota system is notoriously tough. Beiging University (referred to as ‘Běidà’ (北大) offers 84 places for every 10,000 Beijing students and 3 spots for every 10,000 students from heavily-populated provinces like Anhui and Sichuan, giving very little chance of access for thousands of able students.


  • Immersion

In order to attain an excellent standard of English, a lot of Chinese students take additional weekend classes, specially-appointed tutors, and engage in endless testing. Complete immersion overseas (from kindergarten to university) is always preferred as it’s a faster and more efficient learning solution.


  • Less pressure, broader curriculums

The gaokao exam pushes students to the limit. It requires students at least a year of preparation (across English, mathematics, and one more humanities or science subject of choice). More and more parents prefer the option to study abroad for their children as it perceived as less pressured testing.


  • A stepping stone to emigration

A foreign education with cultural and linguistic assimilation represents a great entry point for emigration. An estimated 1.5 million Chinese students who have or are graduating from overseas universities have opted to stay abroad.


What does it mean for international brokers?

This growing appetite for abroad education constitutes a strong and growing potential market for real estate agents. Reinforcing this, China’s burgeoning middle-class, will feed this Chinese overseas education pipeline.

In parallel to this, China has also now more international schools than any other country in the world, it represents a revenue of 18.4 billion yuan ($2.75 billion) by the end of 2013.17 

China’s international schools are considered a useful step to gaining a good education abroad. Evolving in a bilingual environment and exposed to an international education system, students are more equipped for a smooth transition to an overseas education.  Having your child in an international school is also a status symbol in China.


Those facts highlight the importance of education in the Chinese real estate investment behavior and enables you to adjust your sales strategy accordingly. With the rising power of China’s rapidly-growing middle-class population, and the potential baby boom thanks to China’s two-child policy, positioning yourself as a go-to agent for educationally-driven investment could represent a goldmine.

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