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Real Estate Matters

Original post made on Jul 2, 2013

My friends, Bob and Jean, have made six offers on six different houses in Palo Alto and Menlo Park in the last five months and not gotten any of them.

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Comments (14)

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Posted by Disgusted
a resident of Midtown
on Jul 2, 2013 at 7:04 pm


Nice try, but you failed to talk about the elephant in the room: all-cash buyers from mainland China. Your esteemed colleague, Ken DeLeon, disrupted the Peninsula housing market forever by peddling our real estate to the nouveau-riche of China. Sure, there are plenty of legitimate buyers (like your friends Bob and Jean), but they are being outbid by Chinese nationals who use our housing market as investment vehicles. It's a dire situation, especially in Palo Alto. Any suggestions on what Realtors might be able to do to stem the tide?

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Posted by Not an issue
a resident of Community Center
on Jul 2, 2013 at 7:21 pm

Disgusted--- first of all, why don't you provide us with some proof that all the real estate in the area is being bought up by cash paying Chinese. Second, are they doing anything illegal? I think it is legal for Chinese nationals to buy property in the US ( I know you will say thatbtheybare laundering money. To,which I reply-- proof, please). Third, why would realtors want to " stem the tide"? They want to make sales.
BTW, these claims are a regular occurrence on this forum-- the hysterical pronouncements thatbthe Chinese are buying up all of palo,alto--- ignoring the fact that not much real estate is actually turned over in palo alto. Time to drop this subject-- it is a fantasy by poster(s) that have issues with Asians ( cue the poster(s) that will say thatbthe Chinese are unfriendly and do not let their children associate with Caucasian children and the Chinese are pushy)

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Posted by Disgusted
a resident of Midtown
on Jul 2, 2013 at 9:04 pm

For the record, I have no problem with Asians (or Asian-Americans) who live here and buy property here. The issue is with foreign money buying property in the Bay Area for investment purposes. Is it legal? Yes, of course. Is it a problem? Well, yes, for anyone who works around here and wants to live closer to their workplace (and is not already a multi-millionaire). Here are a couple of news articles from NBC and the Merc on the topic:

Web Link
Web Link

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Posted by Not an issue
a resident of Community Center
on Jul 2, 2013 at 9:11 pm

So this money is fueling the current real estate boom, so why does the tide need to be stemmed. You admit it is legal . So what is the issue you have? Are you suggesting that Chinese buyers be discriminated against? Or are you suggesting that sellers sell there homes for less to non- Chinese buyers? What do you have against the free market? What are you disgusted about?

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Posted by Disgusted
a resident of Midtown
on Jul 2, 2013 at 10:10 pm

I am disgusted that rather mediocre homes in Palo Alto go for over $2M with multiple offers and sometimes for $500K over asking, making it impossible (or rather difficult) for the local workforce to afford homes here.

Since you are entitled to your opinion and I am to mine, there's no point in arguing further. Let the real estate transaction records speak for themselves. Have a good evening.

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Posted by the market
a resident of Leland Manor/Garland Drive
on Jul 2, 2013 at 10:21 pm

A house is worth what someone, anyone will pay for it. Bob and Jean should have bid more. I'm bummed I didn't win that Steve Young Jersey on eBay when someone outbid me at the last minute. Guess I should have set my reserve a bit higher. That's on me, not the highest bidder.

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Posted by Adobe
a resident of Adobe-Meadow
on Jul 3, 2013 at 7:21 am

Thanks for your post, Not An Issue.

Disgusted, instead of getting mad at Chinese people, why don't you get mad at the technology industry? The enormous wealth created there is the real reason why housing prices have risen so much.

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Posted by Not Moral
a resident of Evergreen Park
on Jul 3, 2013 at 2:38 pm

Just because something is not illegal does NOT make it ethical or moral. According to the WallStreet Journal, 83% of the middle class in China wants to leave that country. most ope to come here. We cannot hold that many extra people!!!!!

Also according to the Wall St. Journal, Barro 's, and the Investor's Business Daily, most of the mainland Chinese who buy houses in California with cash BORROWED that cash from the Chinese government before absconding with it---- and then never even attempted to pay it back. The Chinese government can do nothing about it once these lenders have left China, and it is becoming a problem economically for China and it's banks. If China were able to do something about it, it would be a big problem for the US, as foreclosure on these properties by China would make them little provinces of China!!!

Then what?? Nationalizing would give us the properties back as repatriated American soil, but nationalization has been a disaster for every country that has done it,historically.

The best thing to do is to let China cripple itself by continuing to lend to these Chinese expatriates, and forbid them to foreclose to gain any of our soil as theirs. Then let the Chonese nationals become citizens. The only problem with that is that so many do not wish to become Americans, but rather, wait for the overthrow of the Chinese Communist government, and then go home rich from their American investments.

This I know as a long-time China watcher and Mandarin speaker, as well as being a descendant of escapees of China's Communist regime.

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Posted by Riiiight
a resident of Adobe-Meadow
on Jul 3, 2013 at 10:58 pm

Riiight. Got a URL for those articles you're referring to so we can all read them? I didn't think so.

"wait for the overthrow of the Chinese Communist government..." People under 60 simply don't talk like that, and neither do descendants of "escapees" from China. [Portion removed.]

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Posted by CNN Reference
a resident of Menlo Park
on Jul 8, 2013 at 11:51 am

Here is an article from CNN today on the same topic.

<Web Link;

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Posted by CNN Reference
a resident of Menlo Park
on Jul 8, 2013 at 11:53 am

take two

Web Link

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Posted by Not an issue
a resident of Community Center
on Jul 8, 2013 at 3:47 pm

From the above story:
Most purchase the homes to raise their family and they pay special attention to the local school systems. Turley also has Chinese clients who buy homes for their kids. Last year, a family from Shanghai bought a condo for their daughter who was attending Stanford. The daughter has since graduated and now works at Google, he said.

Many Chinese buy homes through the U.S. government's EB-5 Immigrant Investor program, which is considered a fast-track to getting a green card. To qualify, foreigners must invest at least $500,000 in a business that provides or preserves 10 jobs. This could be a home that is part of a bigger business project, such as a condo complex. Nearly 80% of all EB-5 visas went to Chinese nationals in 2012, according to the government."

So many of these people ate investing in America. The issue is not as disgusted would want us to believe. Xenophobia anyone??

Like this comment
Posted by s
a resident of Meadow Park
on Jul 20, 2013 at 10:46 pm

[Post removed by Palo Alto Online staff.]

Like this comment
Posted by Outside Observer
a resident of another community
on Jul 21, 2013 at 9:46 am


It's not often I agree with Palo Altans, buy your "vision" of Palo Alto's future is exactly what I hope will happen.

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