The Chinese Are Buying Up America

The Chinese sure are buying up a lot of America these days. Fox News reported a couple of weeks ago how they are second only to Canadians when it comes to US real estate purchases by foreigners.

According to the National Association of Realtors, non-American buyers accounted for $82 billion in home sales last year. More than $7 billion of that is by the Chinese, who are now the second largest foreign home purchasers after Canadians. They’re buying high-end, multimillion-dollar homes from California to New York and paying cash.

“They’re probably the top 1 percent of the Mandarin speakers that are coming from China,” said Brent Chang, a Coldwell Banker realtor in Southern California. “They’re really the people who have their own businesses or maybe were part of the government.”

Not all of the Chinese real estate buyers are purchasing homes. They’re also buying up foreclosed properties as investments.

While some of the Chinese buyers live in the U.S. full or part-time, realtors estimate about 40 percent of the homes are for investments. They’re snapping up houses in states hit hard by foreclosures such as Nevada and Florida. Some are buying two or three homes at a time. (Read More)

The Chinese aren’t just investing in housing. A Chinese company was the highest bidder for the bankrupt A123 Systems (a recipient of Obama’s “green” stimulus) according to the Financial Times. The US government has to approve the deal because of national security concerns. Speaking of which, they’re also buying AIG’s plane leasing unit.

A Chinese group agreed to buy 80.1 percent of American International Group Inc. (AIG)’s plane-leasing unit for $4.23 billion in the nation’s largest acquisition of a U.S. company.

The International Lease Finance Corp. acquirers, led by New China Trust Co. Chairman Weng Xianding, have an option to buy another 9.9 percent, New York-based AIG said today in a statement. The transaction, which values ILFC at $5.3 billion, passes China Investment Corp.’s $3 billion purchase of a stake in Blackstone Group LP (BX) in 2007 as the biggest Chinese-U.S. deal.

The acquisition gives the group control of the world’s second-largest aircraft lessor as rising travel in China and Asia spurs demand for planes. AIG, which counts the U.S. government as its largest investor, is selling the Los Angeles- based unit as Chief Executive Officer Robert Benmosche focuses on insurance operations and works to reduce debt. (Read More)

What’ll they buy next?