Chinese investors snap up NYC property without leaving home

Internet buying fueling a spike in purchases from the People's Republic

From left: NYC skyline and a computer keyboard with a Chinese flag
From left: NYC skyline and a computer keyboard with a Chinese flag

Chinese investors have reportedly claimed the title away from Russia as top foreign buyers of New York real estate, according to a new report. But while the reversal is due in part to uncertainty caused by Russia’s actions in Ukraine — as well as relatively low property prices in New York compared to major cities in China — industry watchers cite other reasons for the surge in purchases from the People’s Republic.

At the top of the list: the willingness of Chinese buyers to conduct sizable overseas real estate purchases via the Internet.

Indeed, prospective Chinese buyers are increasingly relying on websites that connect them with international agents. The largest of these sites – – referred $1.1 billion worth of potential real estate transactions in the last six months of 2013, Business Insider reported.

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The rising reliance on websites is pushing the overall Chinese investment in U.S. property to record heights. Last year, buyers in China more than doubled their investments in overseas properties, with a total of $13.5 billion. In the U.S., Chinese buyers spent an average of $425,000 on homes as of the end of March 2013, according to a report on Business Insider

The influx of Chinese buyers may be most evident in New York City. A report by NBC noted that five of the top real estate brokerages in the city ranked Chinese buyers as No. 1 in both volume and value of sales.

The drop-off of Russia investment comes after the United States government imposed sanctions on Russian investments in the U.S. following that country’s military incursion into Ukraine. [NBC] and [Business Insider]Sasha von Oldershausen