Chinese Capital Controls Affecting Foreign Sales of US Real Estate

Posted by Robert DeFalco on Sunday, May 21st, 2017 at 1:35pm.

As China's foreign exchange reserve rises, Mainland Chinese speculators have been replaced by Canadians in top US markets. The Real Deal reports that a new study from the National Association of Realtors refutes media messages to the contrary.



NAR March 2017 data from Realtor.com show Chinese buyers were absent from the list of top countries. Another country did top the list for almost every city though, Canada.


It's all because the Chinese government has tightened controls on exchange of their currency, the yuan. Beginning in 2017, real estate is no longer an approved purchase. Better Dwelling also carries the details.


Markets that Mainland Chinese buyers flooded over the past couple of years, are noticing substantial declines this year.


In fact the outflow of Chinese capital (which has been over $1 trillion since 2014) has not only stopped, in 2017 it has become an inflow.


Sloppy governments tried to pad poor economic growth by attracting easy money from Mainland Chinese buyers. Now that they’ve disappeared, governments are in for a rude awakening: The economies they’ve neglected over the past two years are in worse shape, as are the locals who tried to keep up with wealthy migrants by spending credit and accumulating massive debt. Now that those migrants are gone, all we’re left with is overleveraged locals, and a number of overseas buyers that will struggle to continue making mortgage payments.


And while Canadians have replaced the Chinese as the primary buyers in major markets, there is a different purpose to their purchase. 80 percent of Canadian buyers are non-residential, compared to 61 percent of Chinese buyers being likely to relocate to the US.


Now that China has cracked down on exporting capital for property, will attention turn to Canadian speculators? Or is the issue to most people who is buying, not why they are buying?

Robert DeFalco

Leave a Comment