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Soufun to pack off 2 more US realty trips

SOUFUN, the real estate Internet services provider which just helped a group of affluent Chinese go on a 10-day property viewing trip to the United States, said yesterday that two more similar trips have already been settled for May amid a huge interest from the country's growing pool of ultra wealthy people.

The two groups, one exclusively for developers and the other for individual home buyers, will leave Beijing for the US in about two months, Dai Jiangong, president of Soufun Holdings Ltd, told Shanghai Daily yesterday via a phone interview.

Meanwhile, Alan Wong, president of Huntington Realty, a registered property broker in California which also runs 30 real estate agencies in the city mainly through franchising, told Shanghai Daily yesterday that it plans to take about 30 people, all from eastern China, to Los Angeles, Las Vegas, San Francisco and San Diego in late April for an 11-day trip, which costs 24,000 yuan (US$3,513) each. The group will also seek investment opportunities amid slumping real estate prices in the US due to a global financial turmoil.

Dai said Soufun's first trip to the US, which ended over the weekend, "proved to be quite successful and most of our group members have expressed their wishes to view more expensive properties. Though no contract had been signed during the 10-day trip, I believe chances are high that some deals might be done as some of them have already decided to pay a second visit soon." More than 500 people sent their applications online for Soufun's first US trip and those who were not picked then might be able to join the second group.

A group of more than 25 people, most of whom are real estate developers, entrepreneurs as well as senior executives in multinational corporations, visited five cities - New York, Boston, San Francisco, Los Angeles and Las Vegas - between February 24 and March 5 at their own costs of around 25,000 yuan per person. Most of the homes they viewed cost from US$300,000 to US$500,000.

Soufun said that homes between US$800,000 and US$1 million will be available for members on the second trip to view. About 20 private property developers going on the exclusive trip will view residential and commercial developments as well as some farms, Dai said.


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