Global Real Estate Brokerage Represents Region at Numerous Trade Associations & Investor Seminars
Executives at Realogics Sotheby’s International Realty (RSIR) released a video documentary “East Meets West” to help explain the meteoric rise in foreign direct investment and immigration in the Puget Sound region. Dean Jones, CEO of Seattle-based RSIR, also presented these trends as a featured panelist during the Asian Real Estate Association of America (“AREAA”) Global & Luxury Summit, which was held in Chicago April 19-21. These events follow recent symposiums in Seattle and Bellevue to Chinese investment delegations invited by the Washington China Relations Council and the North America China Council. Jones also frequently contributes to international investment workshops hosted by local development firms.
“The Seattle/Bellevue metro area is on the map overseas, especially in Mainland China,” said Jones. “It’s yet another indication that we’re a world-class city on the rise. Global citizenship isn’t a trend – it’s a movement and local real estate brokerages are evolving to respond to this emerging demand.”
Seattle and Bellevue have joined premier West Coast gateway cities such as Vancouver, BC, San Francisco and Los Angeles as a target for investment, education and lifestyle amongst affluent Asian homebuyers and investors, says Jones. Believing that secondary markets have become a primary focus, he promotes the Pacific Northwest as offering convenient proximity to Asia (SeaTac International Airport is the closest mainland US port), a high quality of life and education, and relative affordability for housing, taxes and consumer goods when compared with peer cities.
“We are already a melting pot of cultures given our Pacific Rim perch and a high concentration of Fortune 500 companies that attract international talent,” adds Jones. “Our Asian immigration trends are a modern day proxy to Europeans that migrated across the Atlantic to establish a better life in New England two hundred years ago. Likewise we are becoming a New Asia community today.”
Elizabeth Harrington, a director with HURUN and publisher of the famous China Rich List, confirmed to Jones that Seattle is quickly gaining favor among wealthy Chinese consumers surveyed. She told an audience at the same AREAA conference the top markets sought (in order) include Los Angles, San Francisco, Vancouver, BC, New York City and then Seattle (including the popular Eastside cities).
Sellers are increasingly vying to position their properties for global visibility. RSIR recently built out its Asia Desk in Kirkland, which is host to numerous Global Real Estate Advisors that are fluent in foreign languages and logistics as required by international homebuyers.
With its stable government, a rising housing market and a strengthening US dollar interest in American real estate is at an all-time high. Visitation on SIR.com has now surpassed 1 million unique visitors per month and a remarkable 45-percent of this traffic originates from international markets. According to the National Association of Realtors, foreign homebuyers in the US accounted for more than $92 billion in US property sales in 2014. While Canadians commanded the greatest unit sales, the Chinese were responsible for more dollar volume overall. As the Canadian dollar weakens and the Chinese Yuan strengthens, many experts believe Chinese buyers will become the most dominate international homebuyer in the US.
“In addition to our expanding domestic business, we are representing our region and attracting overseas homebuyers,” says Jones. “After all, international is our middle name.”