Monday, March 23, 2009

Transforming Chaos Into Opportunities (3)

The intelligent ones do not only look at opportunity first. They assess their global settings, pontificate their options and slowly decide.

Not only do they maintain the gathering of internal information about the strategic disposition of their targeted party, they constantly assess it. Waiting for that grand advantageous moment when the target is at its weakest state ever. They pursue it without any emotion. Conclusively, they maximize their opportunity to the fullest.

In California and other parts of the world, it is hunting season for the bargain hunters. .

US buying trip just hype?
By Hu Yuanyuan and Wu Chong (China Daily)
Updated: 2009-03-16 08:01

Yin Guohua heaved a sigh of relief last week as his plane touched down in Beijing after an 11-day tour of the US.

As a member of China's first-ever delegation to shop for American real estate, Yin was prepared for hectic travel, endless showings, and pushy salesmen.

He was not prepared for the reporters.

"Everywhere we went, there were cameras chasing us," Yin said ruefully.

The novelty of Chinese shopping for American property guaranteed publicity for the 21-man delegation, which visited Los Angeles, San Francisco, Las Vegas, New York, and Boston. Another 19 delegates, most of them 35-50 years old, missed the trip because of visa problems., the real estate portal, organized the trip but did not announce the results.

Yin, a lawyer who had said he intended to buy a $1 million apartment in either Los Angeles or New York, also declined to say whether he had made a deal, but said the trip met his expectations.

"In fact, we had a wider range of choices than we expected," he said.

Industry experts said the trip did not appear to be a serious attempt to buy property.

Howard Rosen, a senior manager at Grubb & Ellis, a New York-based property agency, said he does not think most Chinese individuals are qualified to purchase real property in the US "unless the money is here."

Investors with deposits in Hong Kong may qualify, he said, but assets on the Chinese mainland will not satisfy US sellers, Rosen said.

In addition, foreign investment in US property requires a lengthy process, according to Rosen. Without "certainty of disclosure," Chinese investors will not be taken seriously, he said.

Rosen also questioned Chinese investors' interest in the US real property market, as the Chinese stock markets begin to rebound.

Even if they are interested, he said, there are still many questions investors must answer before they make such an investment, such as "what kind of investment returns they'd expect" and "how long will they expect to invest."

Chen Yunfeng, secretary general of the China Real Estate Managers Association, said he also doubts that the time is right for Chinese to buy US investment property.

"Given the current US economy, there is no sign that the price of property will appreciate strongly in the short term," said Chen. The price may even continue to slide if the crisis worsens, he said.

More buying trips are likely, however, as China's new millionaires look for places to invest their wealth.

According to a report by the Boston Consulting Group, China had the world's fifth-largest population of millionaires in 2008 with 391,000, up 20 percent from the previous year.

The growing interest among Chinese in buying overseas properties is not focused solely on the US.

"There are more people coming to us, asking about the process of buying an overseas property," said Rainer Schleif, a manager of Aimeilan Consulting (Beijing) Co Ltd, a company that deals mainly with Australian and Singaporean real estate.

Desire to emigrate and the sharp depreciation of the Australian dollar have piqued investors' interest, Schleif said.

(China Daily 03/16/2009 page7)

Chinese 'Buying' Tour May Have Been a Bust

You probably read -- or saw something on TV -- about a group of Chinese investors who toured the U.S. shopping for bargain basement real estate in San Francisco, Las Vegas, New York, Boston and Los Angeles.

One man's foreclosure is another man's profit.

While the tour made headlines -- most of which were fairly alarmist -- the trip seems to have amounted to naught, according to a China Daily report.

Turns out, unless Chinese investors have their cash in Hong Kong or U.S.-based accounts, they probably won't qualify to buy U.S. property. And there were other reasons why industry insiders were skeptical of the trip: For one thing, of the 40 people who were supposed to come, only 21 investors made it, and it's not clear how many of those who attended actually placed offers on properties. (The 19 investors that didn't come reportedly had visa problems.)

Still, that's not to say Chinese buying tours won't eventually become commonplace, but probably not until the U.S. market delivers more predictable short-term returns.

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