To gauge the buying demand among mainland Chinese for domestic and overseas residential properties, the South China Morning Post and consultancy Century 21 China Real Estate have partnered on a quarterly sentiment survey. In the fifth poll conducted in Beijing and Shanghai in the first quarter, 243 clients of Century 21 responded, compared with 274 in the fourth quarter of last year. The latest survey indicated a rising proportion of mainland Chinese became interested in buying properties abroad, mainly for their children's education and to diversify investment. The respondents care most about price as they become more familiar with local policies through widespread media reports in the past two years. The median sale price for new homes in the United States, one of the top destinations for mainland Chinese buyers, peaked at US$302,700 in November and has since fallen every month to US$275,500 in February. The 10 US cities most searched by international buyers in February were New York, Los Angeles, Miami, Orlando, Las Vegas, Fort Lauderdale, San Diego, San Francisco, Houston and Naples, according to the National Association of Realtors, an industry group. In Britain, another hot destination among mainland Chinese, house prices are expected to increase 1.5 per cent this year, but property values in London will fall after "years of over-performance", according to the Centre for Economics and Business Research. Survey results on domestic demand Do you plan to buy a home in the next three months? Yes: 3 per cent (compared with 3 per cent in the fourth quarter of last year). What is the price you can afford and what is the price of projects you are looking at now? Forty-seven per cent (34 per cent) said they could afford a price less than 30,000 yuan per square metre, while 42 per cent (33 per cent) said they were looking at projects below that price. Do you own a home and do you plan to sell it in order to buy a new one? Eighty-four per cent (80 per cent) said they owned a home, and 38 per cent (31 per cent) said they would sell it to buy a new one. Survey results on overseas demand Do you plan to buy a home abroad in the next three months? Yes: 1 per cent (compared with none in the fourth quarter of last year). Why would you buy a home abroad? Seventy-three per cent (52 per cent) cited their children's education for making such a decision, while 9 per cent (35 per cent) said it would be for emigration and 18 per cent (13 per cent) would do so for investment. What is your main concern about buying abroad? Thirty-two per cent (43 per cent) said policy issues would be their main concern, while 58 per cent (47 per cent) of those surveyed said property prices would be their main worry.