Asian Real Estate Boom Lures Foreign Buyers
With high rising home prices in the United States, many immigrants turn to their homelands for cheaper investments and a chance to ride the Asian boom. Investments by Asian-Americans are helping fuel hot real estate markets in China, India, Thailand, the Philippines and Vietnam. Foreign developers are accelerating that trend by marketing directly to eager buyers through mortgage brokers in the U.S. Once the domain of deep-pocket institutional investors, international real estate markets have opened to small investors as globalization provides opportunities for people and money. Experts say the potential for profits is huge, but so are the risks. For one, overseas investors can easily be duped or cheated in Asia's hot economies, and often have few remedies. For example, in China where all land is state-owned and leased to buyers, even if a wronged investor spends the time and money to take a developer to court and wins, collecting on the judgment is unlikely because most Chinese developers are small-scale operators. However, those risks don't stop investors, many of whom are attracted to Asia because of family ties.