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In the 1980s it was the Japanese who were ferociously buying up American real estate.
Many iconic buildings in the states such as New York’s Rockefeller Centre fell into Japanese ownership.
California was the most popular destination for Japanese money and it was said that downtown Los Angeles was largely owned by Japan. According to The LA Times archive Japanese investors poured US$16.54 billion into American real estate in 1988, the peak year for investment.
In the 1990s Japan’s level of investment fell off dramatically and remains fairly low today.
It is the Chinese who are now looking to American real estate to invest in.
With an over-priced and volatile property market in China and a stable and still relatively affordable market in the states, Chinese money has been pouring in.
Last week New York’s iconic Waldorf Astoria hotel was sold to Chinese insurance group Anbang for just under US$2 billion.
The purchase took China’s investment in New York real estate to US$2.7 billion in 2014, topping the US$2.6 billion in 2013.
It was the latest in a string of property purchases by the Chinese that has seen investment in overseas property markets climb from US$70 million in 2008 to US$16 billion in 2013, according to real estate company Colliers International.
Chinese investors are the largest overseas investors in America, England and Australia according to British newspaper the Financial Times.
The paper reported that nationwide property sales in China had dropped by more than 10 per cent this year, while prices in 68 of the 70 top cities had fallen in August 2014.
Chinese money is not only being invested in commercial real estate with Chinese buyers accounting for 10 per cent of all house purchases in America in 2013 according to Forbes magazine. California and New York were the two most popular states for Chinese buyers.
Forbes said Chinese investors regarded the US property market as cheap, safe and offering good returns.
It remains to be seen whether the Chinese interest in US property is long term, but for now they are buying up the country.