US real-estate firm Zillow targets Chinese buyers with website deal

PUBLISHED : Wednesday, 09 April, 2014, 4:28am
UPDATED : Wednesday, 09 April, 2014, 4:28am

US real-estate information marketplace Zillow plans to partner with a Beijing-based peer to tap interest from Chinese clients, the second-largest foreign buyers of US homes last year.

Seattle-based Zillow said it had signed a deal with Beijing Yisheng Leju Information Services that would see a co-branded website translated into Chinese but run by the US company.

The site will operate from early this summer, giving users of Leju, an affiliate of E-House (China), access to home-search data in the US.

Chinese investors have sought opportunities in overseas property markets as prices soared in major cities at home. A total of US$11.5 billion was invested in overseas property last year alone, according to real-estate consultancy Savills.

The US was the second-favourite investment destination, with US$2.3 billion last year, trailing the US$2.6 billion invested in Britain over the same period, Savills said.

Chinese buyers spent US$425,000 on average on a home in the United States as of the end of March 2013, with 69 per cent of deals reported as all-cash purchases, Zillow said.

Chinese property developers have been aggressively investing abroad to cater to demand from the country's buyers and to diversify their assets.

Major companies such as state-backed Greenland, China Vanke, Guangzhou R&F Properties and Country Garden have been investing in real-estate projects in cities from London and New York to Sydney and Pattaya in Thailand.

Greenland, the parent company of Greenland Hong Kong, said last month it aimed to achieve overseas sales of 20 billion yuan (HK$25 billion) this year.