Home ownership among Millennials in China is on the rise. The reason? Smartphone apps that makes it much easier for Chinese nationals to purchase homes overseas. According to the Wall St. Journal, apps like Uoolu—which helps buyers open bank accounts and apply for mortgages in other countries—has helped push home ownership to 70% among Chinese Millennials. By contrast, only 31% of Millennials in the U.S. own a home.
In recent years, China has been tightening controls on the amount of capital permitted to leave the country. Most recently, rules were enacted that placed a $50,000 cap on overseas transfers and that also requires disclosure of its purpose. These new apps allow buyers to skirt the rules, the Journal reports. Now, prospective home buyers can pool their money and send it separately into overseas bank accounts to purchase homes. The added government restrictions, a depreciating yuan and new technology has caused a rush to own homes abroad, the Journal reports.
“The more the government limits people, the more they want to invest overseas,” said Wang Hao, chief operating officer of Uoolu.
One broker told the Journal a 20-something accountant working in Ne w York pooled more than $100,000 from relatives in China to buy a condo in the Big Apple.
In a separate report, the real estate Web site Realdeal.com said nearly $1 trillion flowed out of China in the past year. A huge chunk of that was for real estate purchases, particularly in U.S. coastal cities like New York and Los Angeles. One report pegged Chinese investment in U.S. real estate at $33 billion in 2016, a 53% jump from a year earlier.