HOUSTON (FOX 26) - There are more than 2.3 million millionaires in China, and a lot of them are looking to invest in U.S. properties.
The West coast has seen the trend, and now, Houston is seeing its fair share of wealthy Chinese investors.
Chinese investors have become so significant in the Houston market, that some realtors are now being trained on how to negotiate with Chinese buyers. Part of that training includes knowing your Feng Shui and knowing that the number 4 in an address is bad luck.
FOX26 News’ Angela Chen spoke with Zhang Guo Jun, who is a multi-millionaire from China. He visited Houston for a few days, searching out the perfect property for his next investment.
“We believe you shouldn't put all your investments into one basket. The U.S. is a stable, strong place,” said Zhang Guo Jun, translated from Chinese Mandarin.
Zhang is one of many Chinese investors who, for the past few years, have been buying up U.S. properties like hotcakes. San Francisco and Los Angeles have experienced the real estate trend, and now, Houston’s market is seeing it as well.
“I think they're looking for a safe place to put their money. Houston is very stable, and it creates an excellent return. It's very easy to buy, especially if you have cash. It's easy to rent because we have so many people coming here. Our population is huge and growing every day,” said Susan Annoura, the owner of Annoura Realty and a member of the Houston Association of Realtors.
But why Houston? Zhang said he first knew about Houston because of Yao Ming, but after further research, found that the money just goes further here.
“Houston is a great place. It's incredibly capable. The GDP keeps going up but the housing prices stay low,” said Zhang.
Some realtors said these investors will pay all cash, sometimes over asking price.
“One of my colleagues just sold a 5,000 tract of land for close to $20 million dollars, and they paid all cash,” said Annoura.
Housing experts say that has helped avoid a Houston real estate tumble, brought on by the plunging oil prices. Many are also enthusiastic about the influx of cash into the city, saying it boosts the economy.
“It just grows the community beautifully with more investment money, and Houston's economy in general gets boosted up with all these millions of dollars coming into our economy, I think it's fantastic for everybody,” said Annoura.
Real estate experts with the National Association of Realtors said in the past two years, Chinese investment in Texas property has doubled.
Experts estimate about half of investors buy to for investment potential, and the other half buy to raise their families in the U.S.