China’s Super Rich and the LA Market

Forbes posted an accurate assessment on how China’s wealthy are flocking the US market and, in particular, the Southern California market, including my recently sold listing on Sunset that is mentioned in this article.

From Forbes:
A young Chinese couple threw $34.5 million into a luxury mansion in Hollywood, making themselves a new neighbor of David Beckham, Jennifer Lopez and George Clooney.

Overlooking Sunset Boulevard, the 36,000-square-foot French-style mansion has nine bedrooms and thirteen bathrooms. It sits on two acres in Beverly Hills with hand-carved limestone and 24-karat gilded French chandeliers, according to a story posted on WSJ Blogs.

The buyers, Ning Siqiao and his wife Karen, are both entrepreneurs based in China, said by a person close to the couple.

News of the purchase sparked a flurry of speculation on the Internet that the young millionaire could be the son of Ning Gaoning, the former chairman of a state-owned Chinese conglomerate COFCO, as Ning is an uncommon family name among China’s bigwigs.

Efforts to contact representatives of the buyer and COFCO for confirmation were left unanswered.

Netizens quickly drew comparisons of the purchase to another Chinese couple who paid 32 million Australia dollars for a villa in Sydney two years ago. The buyer was later proved to be Zeng Wei, the son of China’s former vice president Zeng Qinghong.

Ning and Zeng epitomize a much wider trend of China’s uber-rich rushing into overseas real-estate markets, especially the U.S. In the past 12 months up to this March, Chinese buyers have spent $9 billion purchasing properties in the U.S., accounting for 11% of the total foreign spending — only second to Canadians($19.8 billion), according to the National Association of Realtors.

The U.S. property market, by comparison, looks cheap in light of the steep rise in China’s housing price, while also offering the added benefits of more stringent building quality standards and secure property rights.

Joyce Rey
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