Chinese millennials increasingly use apps to buy homes abroad

Buyers are motivated by a depreciating yuan and capital controls

Chinese millennials on their smartphones (Credit: Getty Images)
Chinese millennials on their smartphones (Credit: Getty Images)

While millennials in the U.S. are often known as perennial renters, their counterparts in China are snapping up overseas homes on their smartphones.

Apps like Uoolu, which helps buyers open bank accounts and apply for mortgages in other countries, enable Chinese millennials to easily purchase foreign properties, the Wall Street Journal reported. These young buyers are driven by a weakening yuan and increasingly strict controls on the amount of capital permitted to leave the country. Families can sometimes get around these rules by pooling money and sending it separately into overseas bank accounts. “The more the government limits people, the more they want to invest overseas,” Wang Hao, Uoolu’s chief operating officer, told the Journal.

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One New York City broker told the Journal that his client, an accountant in her 20s who works in New York, pooled together more than $100,000 from relatives in China to buy a condo in Manhattan.

Buyers also are often looking to purchase homes for their children to use when they study abroad. According to a recent survey by HSBC, 70 percent of Chinese millennials — those born between 1981 and 1998 — own their own home. In the U.S., that number drops to 31 percent. [WSJ] — Kathryn Brenzel