China’s Finding Mr Right blockbuster movie, set in the northwestern United States city, has helped boost Chinese prime property sales in Seattle to around one-third overall
Chinese buyers are finding the right property in Seattle, USA, – thanks to the blockbuster rom-com, Finding Mr Right.
Chinese buyers have bought up a third of all houses worth more than US$1million in Seattle and its suburbs, boosted by the movie, Finding Mr Right, reports the New York Times.
The film, with features numerous references to the popular 1980s movie Sleepless in Seattle, tells of a romance between a pregnant Chinese woman who flies to Seattle seeking love and US citizenship for her baby and falls in love with a down-on-his-luck doctor.
Seattle real estate agents are hiring Mandarin speakers and even opening offices in Beijing and builders are catering to Chinese buyers,
Dean Jones, President and Chief Executive Officer of Seattle-based Realogics Sotheby’s International Realty, says “The attractions are many. A depth of arts and culture, a pristine natural environment (including extraordinarily clean air and water), renowned schools, and an internationally diverse population– much of this promoted in the hit movie Beijing Meets Seattle’, which has become a box office favouite in mainland China.
“Living the American Dream is more easily attained here in Seattle. Overseas clientele realize their children can relocate, graduate from the Seattle area’s premier public and private schools with honors, confidently secure employment and can afford to buy a home to build a family in a one of North America’s most beautiful and fastest growing regions.”
Although home values are rising quickly, they are still considerably less expensive than Vancouver, British Columbia, San Francisco or Los Angeles, says Mr Jones.
He believes the trend with international home buying has only just begun, so there’s a much greater propensity for value appreciation ahead.
“Washington has no state income tax and the overall cost of living is much lower than either British Columbia or California. With the savings, you could greatly enhance your lifestyle by living in Seattle.”
Asians are the fastest growing demographic in Washington and in some markets, like Bellevue, they represent thirty-per cent of the population.
“Chinese grocery stores, fine dining, international schools and many Mandarin-speaking businesses have created a comfortable relocation experience for new immigrants. It also helps that Seattle now boasts numerous direct flights to Hong Kong, Shanghai and Beijing, which proves to be less expensive and up to two hours quicker than other international airport hubs in California.”
The University of Washington, ranked 15th by the Academic Ranking of World Universities, says twenty per cent of its freshman class is attending from international markets and half are from China.
Anticipation for the housing demand can be seen throughout the metro area with scores of residential developments transforming the skyline. Other major projects include a US$2billion tunnel and waterfront park project that will rival West Coast cities for both accessibility and beauty.
“We’re seeing housing demand due to job growth, immigration, and lifestyle preferences all at the same time – it’s having a compounding effect. We’re witness to a world-class city on the rise.”
Finding Mr Right was a hit at the Chinese box office in 2013, making it into the top 10 of highest-grossing domestic releases at the time.
Younger Chinese audiences connected with the film and in particular the city of Seattle, which they saw as free of the materialism that pervades Chinese society.
Despite being shot in Vancouver, Finding Mr Right really plays on its links with Seattle, with the Chinese title of the film translating to Beijing Meets Seattle.
Real estate website Zillow says the Seattle market is ‘very hot’ and the median home value is US$465,400. Seattle home values have gone up 7.5% over the past year and Zillow predicts they will rise 5.6% in the next year.
The Seattle area, home to Microsoft and Amazon, attracts a high proportion of wealthy investors and it saw its high-net-worth population rise 17% last year according to a Capgemini-RBC Wealth Management report.
By Adrian Bishop, Editor, OPP Connect