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East Buys West: Wealthy Chinese Buyers Soak up California Housing, Cash is King

Zhang Pen | ChinaFotoPress | Getty Images

Zhang Pen | ChinaFotoPress | Getty Images

  writes:  At a brand new housing development in Irvine, Calif., some of America’s largest home builders are back at work after a crippling housing crash. LennarPulteK HovnanianRyland to name a few. It’s a rebirth for U.S. construction, but the customers are largely Chinese.

“They see the market here still has room for appreciation,” said Irvine-area real estate agent Kinney Yong, of RE/MAX Premier Realty. “What’s driving them over here is that they have this cash, and they want to park it somewhere or invest somewhere.”

Yong’s phone has been ringing off the hook, with more than 5,000 new homes slated for the nearby Great Park Neighborhood. Most of the calls are from overseas, but prospective buyers are not looking solely for financial returns on the real estate.

“We are seeing a lot of Asians who are buying as an investment, but their kids are going to school here, so kids live in the home. They are looking at it more as an investment in education,” said Emile Haddad, CEO of Fivepoint Communities, developer of the Great Park Neighborhood.

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