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House-Hunting Tourism?

Paper: Chinese tourists go house-hunting in US  Dec 08, 2008

Chinese visitors have been seeking to buy foreclosures and other bargain properties in the U.S. plunging housing market in recent months, a newspaper reported Sunday.

The trips are part of a broader trend of individuals and businesses in China seeking greater investment opportunities abroad, the Los Angeles Times said.

"With housing prices crashing in the United States, home-buying trips to America are becoming one of the more popular tour group packages in China," the paper said.

Overseas Chinese have been buying U.S. properties for years. What is different now is that they are starting to do it in large groups and quite openly, said the paper.

"Before, it was kind of private, a quiet thing among friends," Jamie Lee, a Chinese American who runs the Los Angeles Convention and Visitors Bureau office in Beijing, was quoted as saying. "Now it's full-blown... It's huge."

The Chinese do have a lot of cash to spend. The Boston Consulting Group estimates that there were more than 391,000 millionaire households in Chinese mainland last year, up from 310,000 reported the previous year.

Home prices in the United States have fallen more sharply than in China, and many Chinese consider the American market a highly alluring place to invest and live because of the United States' developed economy, the paper said.

Paper: Chinese tourists go house-hunting in US
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