China


Wealthy Chinese Snapping Up US Investor Visas

by Ray Clancy on March 24, 2015

Wealthy Chinese people, especially those seeking an investment in real estate, make up the majority of applications for EB-5 visas in the US which are granted for those putting at least $500,000 into a business.

They account for over 80% of people awaiting visas that bestow US citizenship in return for investment, according to research by real estate services firm Savills Studley. The firm added that this is pushing up demand for commercial property.

movingtousaIMAGEIt is suggested that wealthy Chinese people want to move their assets to places like the United States in part to escape the impact of an anti-corruption drive in China.

Australia has a similar scheme for those investing over $4 million, with figures suggesting that 90% of applicants for these kind of visas are from China. Australian property has long been popular among Chinese but investment has accelerated since the start of last year.

Savills Studley said over 6,400 people are on the waiting list for an EB-5 visa, and that it expects this year’s allotment for Chinese applicants to be reached by September, compared with late August last year.

There were almost 10,700 EB-5 visas issued last year, up 25% from 2013, with mainland Chinese accounting for 85% of recipients compared with 81% the previous year.

According to Savills Studley the rise has become an important source of capital for developers, with Chinese investment in US commercial real estate jumping 78% from a year earlier to $5.7 billion.

The EB-5 visa programme is also driving up prices of residential property, real estate agents said. Many Chinese immigrants with EB-5 visas make a living collecting rent in less expensive states such as Texas and North Carolina.

‘Some of them don’t speak English and cannot find a job, so they buy four or five houses to generate rental income here where housing prices are cheaper but can still give them a 6% to 7% yield,’ said Houston based agent Gladys Wang.

She added that this is the third wave of immigrants and they’re the upper middle class and not necessarily the wealthiest incomers from China.

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