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Soufun takes buyers to view US homes

WHILE some domestic real estate developers and property agencies are still trying to find ways to overcome the sluggish sentiment among home buyers now, one in particular has begun to target some well-to-do Chinese as their potential clients.

Soufun, a leading real estate Internet services provider in China, yesterday said it will arrange a group of 50 potential buyers to go on a 10-day trip to the United States to view properties later this month.

"This is the first trip of its kind to an overseas market organized by Soufun, and we've received a quite warm response from customers," Dai Jiangong, president of Soufun Holdings Ltd, told Shanghai Daily yesterday in a phone interview.

"We will probably arrange more such trips in the future to Australia and some European countries, if this one proves to be successful."

According to Soufun's plan, the group will visit five cities in the US - New York, Boston, San Francisco, Los Angeles and Las Vegas - between February 24 and March 5, and most of the houses they will be viewing are mid to high-class villas and townhouses and priced between US$300,000 and US$800,000.

Only 50 people out of more than 500 who applied for the US trip online have been picked and most of them are real estate developers, entrepreneurs as well as senior executives in multinational companies from the Yangtze River Delta region and Bohai Rim area, according to the trip organizer. Each person is expected to pay about 25,000 yuan (US$3,660) for the trip.

Buying property overseas has become popular among wealthy Chinese over the past few years.

"It is certain that more and more Chinese people will make real estate investment in foreign countries in the future," noted Cai Weimin, an industry veteran who has previously arranged similar house-viewing trips for Taiwanese to other countries. "Houses with existing lease contracts are most preferred by Chinese investors."

They also like to own properties in countries where their children are studying or plan to study and work.


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