Foreign Investment in U.S. Real Estate Assets to Hit Record High

The wave of foreign capital flowing into U.S. real estate is poised for a record-setting year.

“We have strong inbound capital that we believe will see the U.S. exceed the previous peak of 2007 by year-end,” says Lucy Fletcher, vice president of international capital group and capital markets with real estate services firm JLL. As of mid-year, JLL estimates total cross-border investment in U.S. property at $24.1 billion, compared to the $23.6 billion recorded during the full year of 2014.

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Ancient feng shui principles are very much alive

romakoma / Shutterstock.com

Chinese and Chinese-American buyers make up the fastest-growing segment of the homebuying population. As a group that spent a projected $28.6 billion on real estate in the U.S. from April 2014 to March 2015, the Chinese buyer has a lot of power — and a lot of rules to follow.

Feng shui principles may not be important to the American homebuyer, but they can be a deal-breaker to the Chinese buyer. Better Homes and Gardens Real Estate, in partnership with the Asian Real Estate Association of America, recently conducted research with 500 Chinese-Americans to learn about their buying habits and home design mindset.

Developed more than 3,000 years ago, feng shui is an art and science created to promote positive energy and balance to the design of a home. The study found that 86 percent of Chinese-American buyers will consider the principles of feng shui and 79 percent would pay more for a home that fits that preference.

Real estate agents should take certain things into consideration, such as a home located at the end of a dead-end street, with the front and back door aligned or with a staircase directly facing the front door, as these are all against the principles of feng shui.

 Feng shui embraces a clutter-free home — most importantly in the kitchen, where clutter quickly accumulates. All counters are to be cleared of appliances and personal items to let the energy, or qi, flow freely. This is an important component of a home for 64 percent of Chinese buyers.

The elements in a home — fire, water, wood, earth and metal — should be balanced. This means plants, intelligently placing mirrors and adding only pops of complementary colors. The bathroom is a great place to add plants, especially in bathrooms with more modern design or hard elements.

Thirty-two percent of buyers look for complementary colors in the kitchen, like orange or red. Because there is already fire and water in the kitchen, play with incorporating metal and wood with decor and furniture.

The bedroom is another room that should be clutter-free, and the bed should be placed in the middle of the room to promote good energy flow. Get rid of the television and separate any other spaces, like a workspace, from the core layout of the room by using room separators.

Absolutely do not place the bed facing the door, according to 41 percent of Chinese-American buyers.

For some, these standards may seem picky, but these buyers are willing to pay 16 percent more for a home that aligns with feng shui, and 75 percent say a home with a structural feng shui “deal-breaker” would keep them from closing a deal.

Takeaways:

  • Don’t show Chinese-American buyers a home at the end of a dead-end street, with a front and back door aligned with one another or with a staircase facing the front door.
  • Eighty-six percent of Chinese-American buyers will consider the feng shui principles when buying a home.
  • Clear clutter and balance out the elements in a home: fire, water, earth, wood and metal.

See BHGRE’s infographic about feng shui:

feng-shuiArticle originally written by Kimberly Manning, Inman Select August 2015

The cities where Americans are likely to pay more than half their income on rent

More people than ever are renting instead of buying homes, but being a renter isn’t getting any easier. For many households, the monthly rent check is so big that it eats up the majority of their paycheck — and the burden is growing. Some 20.7 million rental households — or about half of all renters– spent more than 30 percent of their income on housing in 2013, according to a report from the Harvard Joint Center for Housing Studies. About 11 million of those households spent more than half of their paycheck on rent and utilities, up 37 percent from 2003, the study found. (Financial advisers typically recommend that people spend less than a third of their pay on housing costs.)

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Gay marriage ruling: a housing game changer

Regardless of anyone’s personnal and political views on the subject, its impact will be felt. The U.S. Supreme Court’s decision late last week to make same-sex marriages legal throughout the country could lift home ownership among lesbian, gay bisexual and transgender couples.

“As with other momentous social landmarks, this progress will trigger key milestones along the path to home ownership,” says Sherry Chris, CEO of Better Homes and Gardens Real Estate. The LGBT community is “a powerful market segment that represents an estimated buying power of $840 billion.”

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More Americans Are Renting, and Paying More, as Homeownership Falls

 

WESTFIELD, N.J. — To Johnnie McDowell, the house on Livingston Street seems to taunt him every time he walks by. It’s nothing special: The two-story home is a bit shabby, and it’s been on and off the market in recent months without finding a buyer. Still, he cannot stop dreaming of a better life for his family as he imagines the extra space inside and his children and dog playing outdoors once he weeds the yard.

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What Makes a Successful Global City?

World leaders, urban planners and other industry thinkers weigh in on what it takes for a city to attract top-tier talent and take on global problems. According to the World Health Organization, more than half of the world’s population lives in cities, and that number is growing. In two years, the organization expects the urban population to be a majority, even in developing countries.

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