Sunday, September 21, 2014


[SEATTLE] As the Chinese wealthy stash more of their fortunes overseas, they're bidding up the value of everything from bitcoins and Burgundy to Picassos and pink diamonds.
And, increasingly, China's rich are also offshoring their families along with their cash. That has created a real estate boom in an unlikely corner of the United States: suburban Seattle.
Wealthy Chinese have become far and away the biggest foreign buyers of property in Seattle in recent years, accounting for up to one-third of US$1 million-plus homes sold in certain areas, brokers say. Seattle property agents are hiring Mandarin speakers and even opening offices in Beijing. Builders are designing much of their new construction for Chinese buyers.
Seattle property agents have even added a new term of art to their deal language: "the feng shui contingency". Before closing on a house, many Chinese buyers are asking to have a feng shui master or consultant approve the house as part of a general inspection. Bad feng shui means no deal. Or, sometimes, some last-minute landscaping.


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