Visas and Luxury Draw Surge of Investors to Beijing Property Fair

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BEIJING – A luxury property fair in Beijing has drawn investors to what has become one of the most profitable real estate sectors in the Chinese property market.

While some were attracted by the benefit of acquiring residence permits or visas through overseas property purchases, others were simply keen to indulge themselves at the Luxury Property Show that launched in Beijing at the Wanda Hotel venue on Friday.

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“Invest in Spain and open the world with Golden Visa,” urged the Spain & China Association for Real Estate Investment (SCA) in a sign greeting visitors.

The fair recorded a high footfall from the start, with SCA’s Javier Canadas saying he had “never before seen a fair that began with so many people ready to invest significant sums of money to obtain the golden visa.”

“It is not the property, but the visa that people are interested in, whether to have access to better healthcare or education for their children,” said SCA’s Tetyana Sydorenka.

The Spanish company is only one among dozens of nations from across the world, from neighboring Singapore to the Bahamas and Mauritius, to exhibit at the fair.

Leni, a real estate agent visiting the show, explained she wanted to “get the golden visa” which will “open doors into Europe for my kids, and maybe also for myself when I am old and retired.”

The so-called golden visa provision was approved by Spain in 2013 to attract non-EU nationals, with requirements ranging from acquiring property valued over $562,995 to buying $2.6-million worth of public debt or shares for $1.1 million.

Though Spain had high hopes for the visa, the complicated bureaucratic procedures hindered any influx of buyers, forcing the government to reform the system in 2015.

Uruguay Consul to China, Agustina Casavalle, said the Latin American country would also try to “promote a China-specific policy” for immigration, considering the number of queries they had received since the fair opened.

Monica Venegas, head of Miami-based real estate company Venegas International, claimed her eight years of experience in the Chinese market showed clients are increasingly on the lookout for ‘benefits’ in an economy not as buoyant as before.

“Investing outside has become a necessity to diversify and not depend on what happens here,” she explained.

With property prices skyrocketing in big cities of the world’s second largest economy, Venegas said what Miami offers is “very profitable” in comparison for Chinese investors.

According to Venegas, Miami promises Chinese buyers exactly what they are looking for: “Flamboyance, brand, architecture…the boat and the yacht.”

Courtesy Latin America Herald Tribune

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