Rich Chinese buying up houses in Europe
January 26, 2011 - China
Rich Chinese are increasingly being attracted to the property market in Europe, particularly UK.
According to Knight Frank Residential Research, more than one in 10 of all buyers of new properties in central London are now from the Chinese mainland or Hong Kong.
Although, the Chinese are also looking at other areas of Europe, including old world castles and chateaux with vineyards in France, and the sunny southern Spain costas, London remains their central focus.
For many Chinese investors the attraction of London as opposed to other parts of Europe is that they can buy property and live in the UK up to 90 days a year without being taxed on their worldwide income, taking advantage of the UK's non-domiciled tax rules.
According to agents, many of the buyers are looking to buy residences for their children at university in the London, often apartments worth 1 million pounds or more, which the parents can also make use of when they visit.
In China, properties from other parts of Europe were being offered to high net worth individuals at the Luxury Properties Showcase at Beijing's Ritz-Carlton Hotel over three days last month.
Peter Illovsky, an associate of Burger Sotheby's International Realty, who is based in Saint Jean Cap Ferrat on the Cote d'Azur was marketing luxury properties in such locations as Cannes and St Tropez.
He says selling property in France means battling against the tax advantages that the UK offers to the Chinese and other foreigners.
"In France, if you are resident for more than a month in any one year, you could have to pay tax on your worldwide income in France," he says.
Nonetheless he says he had had two Chinese clients buying property from him, both from Hong Kong.
"We are optimistic of selling more French properties to Chinese clients. We have more of a Russian tradition, however, and that is where many of our buyers come from."
"Many of the Russian writers used to live in France in the winter as did Tchaikovsky," he says.
Read the full story @ China daily
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