The CEO of property portal Juwai.com says the Chinese President’s meeting with Donald Trump at his Mar-a-Lago estate next month could attract unprecedented Chinese real estate buyer interest in Palm Beach and Florida as a whole.
Charles Pittar heads up China’s leading property portal for international buyers and is a guest speaker at the inaugural Global Online Classifieds Summit to be held in Miami, Florida, this June.
Pittar says Chinese buyer enquiries in Florida surged in 2016, specifically in Miami and Fort Lauderdale. But he predicts that expressions of interest for properties in Palm Beach, alongside membership applications to Mar-a-Lago, are likely to rise when President Xi Jinping meets Donald Trump at his ostentatious resort for a trade meeting in April.
“I would expect the Chinese President's visit to make the club a status symbol among wealthy and ambitious Chinese," he said of the resort, whose membership costs $200,000 a year. "Unless the summit goes wrong, Mar-a-Lago had better have an application form in Chinese. They should expect a spike in Chinese applicants to emulate their President and be members of the club where he conducts his state visit to President Trump.”
Pittar, who delivered a keynote presentation at PPW Madrid in 2016 on how to market to Chinese buyers, says one of the key reasons those buyers are interested in Florida is because of the lifestyle that it provides for their family.
“Besides investment returns and quality of living, many of our buyers in Florida are providing a home for their children who are studying at local high schools and universities,” he says. “About one-third cite education as a motivation for their purchase.
"Chinese buyers like Florida because of its abundant water views, lower prices than other large U.S. cities and relatively high yields; local universities and theme parks are also big draws.”
And don't forget the price. Properties in Florida are also a fraction of what they cost in other comparable Chinese investment hotspots around the globe, such as Hong Kong, London, Sydney and New York.
Data from Juwai.com, which attracts over 2 million Chinese consumers to its website on a monthly basis - specifies that Chinese buyers made 62.5% more real estate purchasing inquiries in Florida in 2016 than in 2015; in 2015, the rate of growth was also rapid, and they made 48.0% more buying inquiries in 2015 than in 2014.
Pittar says a big advantage that a portal like Juwai.com has is the sheer enormity of its data, which can be used to target customers who are interested in purchasing in a specific area.
“Because portals like Juwai.com aggregate so many users, properties, and property marketers, you can track many metrics that traditional businesses can only dream about,” Pittar admits.
“When we consistently have a higher inquiry-to-listing ratio in a given area, our sales team targets new advertisers there. When we see lower inquiry-to-listing ratios, our consumer team works on editorial content, promotions, social media and other measures to drive new traffic to those areas and boost inquiries.”