Fast-Growing Brokerage Firm Hosts Numerous Initiatives Targeting Asian Home Buyers Locally & Overseas
Realogics Sotheby’s International Realty, the Pacific Northwest’s largest affiliate for the fast-growing global real estate network formally announced today a new “Asia Desk” – a network of bilingual real estate brokers fluent in Mandarin, Cantonese or Korean who are experienced in working with the unique demands of overseas home buyers. Anticipating the addition of new brokers, the firm is expanding its Eastside flagship branch office in downtown Kirkland, which will soon feature an authentic Asian-themed tea room to host private meetings with international guests.
“Having witnessed the impact of Asian home buyers in my hometown of Vancouver in British Columbia, I understand the exponential growth prospects of this foreign buyer segment,” said Dean Jones, President & CEO of Realogics Sotheby’s International Realty. “International is our middle name and so we’re playing a pivotal role in building out networks between the Pacific Northwest region and Asia. This is just the beginning.”
The Asia Desk operations are directly networked with Beijing Sotheby’s International Realty, which Jones referred to the franchise system and helped to establish over the past three years. RSIR owners Dean and Stacy Jones attended the October 10th Grand Opening in Beijing and were joined by several other RSIR brokers including Lili Shang, a Beijing-born immigrant to the US who now specializes in assisting Chinese home buyers establish residency in the Puget Sound region.
“Sotheby’s International Realty is an incredibly powerful brand throughout Asia, which has opened many doors for me to expand my business into China,” said Shang. “I am returning with many opportunities and a heightened awareness of just how attractive the Seattle/Bellevue metro area is to Mainland Chinese.”
According to international homebuyer research provided by the National Association of Realtors, Canadians still buy more homes in the US but the Chinese spend more in aggregate. International sales in the US are expected to represent $92.2 billion in 2014 and Washington State is among the fastest growing markets for foreign buyers. Census data reveals Asians are the fastest growing demographic in Washington. In many Eastside communities, including the City of Bellevue, Asians now comprise 30-percent of the population spurring a rise in Mandarin-speaking businesses specializing in international relocation services. Recently The New York Times estimated that 40% of the Eastside homes valued above $1 million were sold to Chinese home buyers.
“For Chinese the real estate axiom is not Location-Location-Location,” adds Jones. “It’s Location-Education-Environment. We are finding favor given our close proximity to Asia, renowned schools and pristine natural environment. The American Dream is simply more attainable here versus the traditionally targeted markets like Vancouver, San Francisco or Los Angeles, which can cost a third more or even twice as much for a similar home. Besides, I think our propensity for capital appreciation is higher in the Seattle/Bellevue metro area, spurred in part by the foreign buying trends but also given favorable economic growth forecasts.”
It helps too that the box office hit movie “Beijing Meets Seattle” promotes relocation to the area. Visit Seattle predicts that Chinese tourists will soon become the highest volume international visitor to Seattle and likewise, air carriers such as Hainan Airlines and Delta Airlines have expanded routes direct to Hong Kong, Beijing and Shanghai.
Jones says other trends have played an active role in the discovery of the Pacific Northwest area by Asians. Earlier in 2014, the Canadian government reset its policies on foreign direct investment and immigration programs returning some 60,000 applications and causing many Asian consumers to seek alternate solutions such as the USCIS EB-5 “Green Card” program. This event has allowed many Seattle-area projects funded by this program to break ground in recent weeks. Furthermore, the passing of Proposition 30 in California (making it the most heavily taxed state in the union) contrasts sharply to Washington State where there is no income tax.
To be sure, RSIR is doing its part to increase the visibility of Puget Sound lifestyles by participating in various international networking events like the recent Nan Hai Biz-Tech Summit in Bellevue, The Beijing Luxury Property Show in Beijing, The Asian Real Estate Association of America (AREAA) Global Summit in New York City and representing the region during the Grand Opening of Beijing Sotheby’s International Realty also in Beijing. The firm is also publishing featured articles in targeted magazines overseas and manages a dedicated website comparing gateway markets in the US for overseas consumers at www.DragonandthePearls.com.
On October 15, RSIR will host the Pacific Rim Real Estate Summit entitled “Emerging Gateways” at the Connoisseurs of Life Showroom located at 15 Lake Street in downtown Kirkland. Title sponsor Merrill Lynch welcomes keynote speaker Mauricio Umansky, CEO of Los Angeles-based The Agency, to present trends on international home buying, global citizenship and emerging gateway markets such as the Seattle/Bellevue metro area. Dean Jones will moderate an expert panel on real estate, immigration and finance including guests from Manhattan and Vancouver. For more information and to purchase tickets visit: www.AREAA.org/GreaterSeattle.
The Puget Sound Business Journal recognizes Realogics Sotheby’s International Realty amongst the top 100 “Fastest Growing Private Companies” in 2014 for the third year in a row. Collectively, the Sotheby’s International Realty network is now comprised of more than 15,000 brokerages in 720 offices operating in 52 countries and territories around the world.