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ANALYSIS: Chinese Investors Are Buying Up A Major Conservative State Right Under Your Nose

Lintao Zhang/Getty Images

Sarah Weaver Staff Writer
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It’s an open secret that China is buying up American homes in large quantities, but investors from Beijing recently have been aiming towards a new target for their real estate ventures, reports indicate.

Moving beyond only making purchases in states like California and New York, Chinese investors are buying up vast swaths of real estate in Florida — a state that has made headlines in recent years for opposing COVID-19 lockdowns and adopting other right-of-center policies at the state level.

The Toronto Star reported on the trend in 2013. At the time, Canadian real estate investors were noticing that houses and condos in Florida were being snapped up by Chinese investors before Canadian buyers could get to them. Dubbed “Canadian snowbirds,” buyers from America’s neighbor to the north have long shown a penchant for real estate in Florida. A 2022 report from the National Association of Realtors (NAR) showed that Florida accounted for 45% of the land purchased by investors from Canada. Then, the competition came from Beijing. (RELATED: China’s Wealthy Elite Are Fleeing The Country Thanks To CCP’s ‘Zero-COVID’ Policy)

“Some of our clients got beat out recently because they were waiting to book flights. Some Chinese investors bought up 35 (townhouse-condo) units without even flying in first,” Wayne Levy of the Toronto-based Florida Home Finders told The Star.

“They looked at a picture. They wrote cheques. That’s what’s happening now,” Levy said.

Investors from China topped the list of overseas buyers of U.S. homes in terms of dollar value for the tenth consecutive year, according to the 2022 National Association of Realtors report. Chinese buyers have purchased $6.1 billion of U.S. homes in the last 12 months, a 27% increase from a year ago, when they purchased $4.5 billion worth of existing U.S. homes. Chinese investments account for 6% of purchases from foreign buyers. Of Chinese buyers, 58% completed their purchases all in cash. Chinese investors also pay the highest average purchase price of all international buyers. (RELATED: ANALYSIS: The Massive Woke Company Selling Out Americans To China)

In 2021, Florida did not crack the top-15 destinations of foreign buyers from China. In 2022, however, NAR’s report found that for Chinese buyers, Florida ranked as their fourth most popular destination for purchase, accounting for 7% of those purchases. Florida was the top destination for foreign buyers in general, both in 2022 year and the previous year, and the percentage of land in the state bought by international investors increased by 2% in 2022 from what it was in 2021.

In July, Republican Gov. Ron DeSantis of Florida called out China for buying up massive amounts of American farmland.

“I don’t think they should be able to do it,” DeSantis said. (RELATED: Bill Gates Gets Approval To Buy Up 2,100 Acres Of North Dakota Farmland)

Florida’s Attorney General Ashley Moody also weighed in on the reports, calling them “shocking” and noting that Florida has relatively few restrictions on foreign buying of land in the state, unlike China itself.

“Florida has no restrictions. Now compare that to China. China does have restrictions on foreign investment,” Moody said on Fox Business. “There is no doubt our policies are self-sacrificing and outdated, they leave us vulnerable.”

China has restricted over a million mainland investors from “trading onshore shares via the stock connect programs with Hong Kong,” in rules that take effect July 25. (RELATED: Billionaire With Massive Chinese Investments Says Communist Party Disappears People Because It’s ‘Like A Strict Parent’)

Foreign buyers spent $58 billion on purchases of U.S. homes in the 12 months before March 2022, up from the previous year, when foreign buyers bought $54.4 billion worth of U.S. homes. China in particular, arguably the United States’s number one international enemy, increased spending on U.S. real estate by $1.6 billion.

“House prices grew 8 percentage points more in U.S. zip codes with high foreign-born Chinese populations from 2012 to 2018,” according to a paper put out by the National Bureau of Economic Research.

Overall, Chinese buyers are making it harder for Americans to own a home through increased competition. That problem is about to get much worse in the Sunshine State, as Chinese investors turn to Florida for their newest real estate ventures.