What’s Driving China’s Emerging Luxury Homebuyers in 2017?

China’s wealthy homebuyers are expressing high levels of consumer confidence when it comes to purchasing a place to live in their own country, according to a new report released by Sotheby’s International Realty Affiliates LLC. The study, “Global Affluence: The Emerging Luxury Consumer,” looked at China along with the United States, the United Kingdom, India, and the United Arab Emirates to assess the motivating factors for luxury consumers buying a home. Unlike U.S. and U.K. consumers who say they want to buy a home because it’s the right time in their life, China’s emerging luxury homebuyers are seeking “to fit a particular lifestyle.”

The report, which examined the spending habits and decisions of those with between US$250,000 and US$1 million in investable assets, also shows that emerging Chinese luxury consumers are even more confident about purchasing a home in their own country, with about 92 percent planning to buy one in the next three years, topped only by India, at 95 percent. Comparatively, 78 percent of U.S. consumers plan to buy one in the next three years.

The Chinese consumers surveyed reported they were motivated by several factors, including wanting a home to benefit family members—it’s common for Chinese families, for instance, to buy homes for their children who are studying abroad. Chinese respondents, along with those in India, also said they “expected to make a high return on this kind of investment.”

Those surveyed in China are about on par with those in the United States in their outlook on the local economy, with 89 percent from China saying they felt the economy was headed in the right direction, and 94 percent feeling confident about their personal wealth and purchasing power.

A current trend among emerging luxury homebuyers across the globe is to look for properties near a waterfront or ones that have eco-friendly qualities, while historic and urban areas are also among top priorities, according to the report.

Kevin Thompson, chief marketing officer of Sotheby’s International Realty Affiliates LLC, said emerging luxury consumers are a new group that real estate agents are paying more attention to. “These individuals have a luxury sensibility and an affinity for exclusive brands, proving that luxury transcends income levels,” he said. “It is about quality, uniqueness, and ultimately achieving a certain lifestyle.”

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