Real Estate

A perspective on Chinese home buyers

One real-estate agent explains why Chinese buyers are choosing Palo Alto

While there are no reliable statistics about the number of overseas residents buying Palo Alto homes, it is apparent that Chinese buyers have played a meaningful role in our property market.

Over the past few years, it has become predictable that during the summer Chinese families send their kids to our local camps and along the way buy some of the high-end homes in Palo Alto and Atherton.


Xin Jiang
In a way, without Chinese buyers serving as a new pillar of demand, we might not have seen the "super cycle" from 2011 to 2015, with the median home price in Palo Alto rising by 91 percent, from $1.3 million to $2.5 million.

Why do Chinese families especially love Palo Alto? We have it all -- schools, robust economy, relatively short distance to China, weather and ethnic diversity.

It has been a longtime tradition for Chinese parents to provide the best educational opportunity for their children. These financially well-off Chinese buyers, even if themselves not well-educated, demand their kids get the best education possible. Wealthy Chinese families often travel around the world to locate the best schools for their children.

Before coming to summer camps in the Bay Area, many of these kids have attended short-term programs in the United Kingdom, Switzerland, and East Coast cities like Cambridge, Mass. and New York City. In recent years, it is not uncommon to hear comments on Palo Alto schools that we have somehow fallen behind those schools in desirable English-speaking cities, and even schools in China, on academic rigorousness.

However, those Chinese families who indeed decide to move to Palo Alto value the risk-taking attitude and the sense of responsibility that kids can develop here, which comes not only from learning at school but also from growing up in the larger Silicon Valley community.

Our robust tech economy is another strong reason why Chinese families love to move here. Many of the incoming Chinese parents are business owners who have already had some business developments in Silicon Valley. Moving here means they don't have to give up their careers entirely for the kids.

The majority of the global tech economy is located in Silicon Valley and Asia and it will likely remain so. While Asia used to provide low-cost labor, besides catching up in R&D, Asia, especially China, now also offers funding to many brilliant minds in Silicon Valley. The relatively short distance between China and Silicon Valley makes our property market more desirable than the East Coast or the United Kingdom.

What types of Chinese families are buying in Palo Alto these days? Chinese buyers can be divided mainly into two groups. The first group are investors. Those families do not have immediate plans to relocate to the Bay Area. For the purpose of asset diversification, they want to hold something here in Palo Alto to get exposure to the robust tech economy. As discussed in my previous articles, Palo Alto homes have proven to be very good investments over the long run.

For instance, the median home price in Palo Alto has increased at a compounded annual rate of 9.1 percent from 1998 to 2015, which is a lot more attractive than many other financial instruments. Using the S&P 500 index as an indicator for the general stock market, if one bought stock in the index at the beginning of 1998 and held it until the end of 2015, it only grew at about 2.1 percent annually.

The second group of Chinese buyers purchases homes as their primary residences, and most of them send their children to local schools.

What are the implications of the continuous inflow of Chinese buyers to our community? Those investment homes feed into the rental pool, and serve as a cushion to our property market. Rental properties offer a way for young families who can't afford to buy, to still live in Palo Alto. Indeed, there has been a mild increase in the rental supply recently.

For those Chinese families who do move into our community, many of them are quite resourceful. They'll bring changes to our community in many ways.

Some of them may want to tear down an old house to build a new one, thus accelerating the transition of many neighborhoods in Palo Alto. Some may contribute to our local schools financially to improve the learning experience of their children, and benefit the rest of us. Although not every newly immigrated Chinese family understands the importance of participation and contribution, I believe that over time, they will. After all, participation is what makes Palo Alto a unique and a better community.

Xin Jiang is a real estate agent for Alain Pinel Realtors in Palo Alto. She can be emailed at xjiang@apr.com

Comments

115 people like this
Posted by Question
a resident of Los Altos
on Oct 27, 2016 at 4:14 pm

Many other nations place steep taxes on foreign buyers of real estate, if they allow them to purchase it at all. Since the supply of real estate for purchase is so limited, I'm wondering why our region/state/country does not also place a steep tax on overseas buyers.


48 people like this
Posted by resident
a resident of Old Palo Alto
on Oct 27, 2016 at 5:18 pm

Who has a larger impact on Palo Alto home prices, demand from overseas Chinese or demand from high-paid workers at local tech companies like Google, Facebook, and Palantir? I'm guessing the latter by at least a factor of 10. The Trumper talk about blaming foreigners is BS.


24 people like this
Posted by thanks and qustions
a resident of Community Center
on Oct 27, 2016 at 8:42 pm

Ms. Jiang, Thank you for your valuable insights. In your experience, what fraction of the Chinese buyers would you estimate are using Palo Alto real estate purely as investments, and what fraction plan to have their children reside in the homes so that they can attend PAUSD schools? Also, has it been your sense that the number of Chinese nationals bidding on Palo Alto homes has decreased this fall (after legislation requiring greater scrutiny of all-cash offers over 1 million dollars and the devaluation of the yuan)?


102 people like this
Posted by BP dad
a resident of Barron Park
on Oct 27, 2016 at 11:09 pm

"While there are no reliable statistics about the number of overseas residents buying Palo Alto homes, it is apparent that Chinese buyers have played a meaningful role in our property market"

Are you kidding me that real estate agents and agencies don't know the percent of foreign buyers in Palo Alto over the last 5 years, and how it is trending. They are obviously keeping it to themselves so the residents of Palo Alto don't have the facts.


21 people like this
Posted by musical
a resident of Palo Verde
on Oct 27, 2016 at 11:18 pm

The only way to get 2.1 percent out of the S&P 500 is to throw away all your dividends and adjust your balance for inflation. Even without dividends, the actual 18-year number from January 1998 to December 2015 is 4.2 percent annualized. Reinvest the dividends and it's more like 6.2 percent, or nearly a triple of the original investment.

I suspect that much of the rise in median home price is the $1.2M transaction for a 1950s tear-down, followed by selling the new construction for $3.1M. The "median" home is simply getting larger and newer. Yes, the "transition" of our single family neighborhoods is "accelerating" away from 3-bedroom, 2-bath.

As for cherry picking the 2011-2015 "super cycle", a 91-percent median home price rise must then be compared to the S&P 500 total returns of 77-percent in that same period. (Apple more than doubled and Google nearly tripled.)


106 people like this
Posted by mauricio
a resident of Embarcadero Oaks/Leland
on Oct 28, 2016 at 6:06 am

I don't need statistics. On my street, my friends streets and anywhere I look, just about every home for sale is purchased by Chinese. I suspect that the statistics exist, but are kept from being published by the realtors to prevent a huge outcry. Watch the Disney World style bus tours local realtors run for Chinese buyers. Some of those multi-million dollar homes are left unoccupied, because they were purchased solely as an investment. Many are purchased for cash at significantly over the asking price, which keeps accelerating home prices.

[Portion removed.]


21 people like this
Posted by Olaf
a resident of Embarcadero Oaks/Leland
on Oct 28, 2016 at 6:56 am

Palo Alto needs to embrace diversity in whatever form in comes in. Rich and poor and as a community of an increasingly few dominant races need to figure out a way to make it work and set an example. If Palo Alto schools have gone from being mostly white to mostly Asian, we should see that as an indication that perhaps the world is changing and with it Palo Alto. It's easy to set up and target an ethnic group, which strangely is what this article does, rather than to target the problems that gave rise to the situation described. If anything, Palo Alto's sense of exclusivity and singular uniqueness, hitching itself to Stanford and Silicon Valley, is what has given rise to all of this and the feeling and reputation that our homes and community are so much more different than homes in zip codes only a few blocks or miles away. If anything it has all been one gigantic sales pitch and it has worked.


119 people like this
Posted by
a resident of Midtown
on Oct 28, 2016 at 1:33 pm

is a registered user.

We should take a lesson from Australia, a country that found its own citizens priced out of the housing marked by mainland Chinese buyers--both commercial and residential.

Australia pretty much legislated the Chinese out of their country: any Chinese immigrants owning more than one residential or commercial property must either leave Australia and sell their properties to Australian citizens, OR become Australian citizens and be allowed to stay and retain ONE property for themselves!


35 people like this
Posted by musical
a resident of Palo Verde
on Oct 28, 2016 at 6:33 pm

When we personally buy any product "Made in China", or 480 billion dollars worth of product per year, what exactly are we expecting to trade for it? That's a lot of almonds. We keep blocking initiatives to send China more coal and oil. Anybody know how many Palo Alto homes we'd need to sell to balance our own city's trade from that direction? My back-of-envelope calculation is just 30 homes annually. Not a serious problem unless it is falling on Palo Alto alone to balance our entire nation's trade deficit, in which case we'd better get busy.


28 people like this
Posted by Xin Jiang
a resident of South of Midtown
on Oct 29, 2016 at 7:54 pm

@ Resident of Community Center:
From my experience, there are roughly same number of Chinese buyers of investment versus residency. Demand from Chinese home buyers was soft before summer, but has since become quite strong.
There are some additional disclosure requirements for all-cash transactions over $2 million if home title is not held under a natural person, i.e. LLC or other types of companies. As the purpose of this new rule is to catch money laundering, it has no impact on individual foreign cash buyers. Moreover, de-valuation of Chinese currency so far has only accelerated money flow to our local property market.

@ BP Dad, a resident of Barron Park
@ Mauricio, a resident of Embarcadero Oaks/Leland
All closed real estate transactions in Palo Alto have public records at county level, which show names of home buyers. However, it is not reasonable to base on a buyer’s name to determine his/her nationality.
It also could be misleading to base on whether the buyer’s agent speaks Mandarin/Cantonese to determine buyer’s nationality, since some Chinese buyers are well educated, fluent in English, and working with local agents who don’t speak Chinese at all.
A survey of buyers’ agents on this subject could provide good insights. However, I am not aware of any such practice.

@ Resident of Old Palo Alto:
I wish that I had convincing data points. From my first-hand experience this year, local demands dominate entry to medium level homes in Palo Alto, while Chinese buyers regularly account for more than half of transactions of high-priced homes (+$4 million).


48 people like this
Posted by parent of young adults
a resident of Palo Alto High School
on Oct 30, 2016 at 11:33 am

All of this is very interesting current happenings. However, I object to the near-deification of mainland Chinese home buyers or investors coming here. I am NOT awe-struck by them. ARE we supposed to be - for some reason?!
We are all equally worthy, all countries have persons with high I.Q., interest in academic accomplishments, etc., and the current hyping of mainland Chinese as somehow "special" in this regard is odd and offensive and divisive, in my opinion. Let them do what they want to do, buy the real estate, but to elevate them to some sort of special stature is unnecessary. In the end: money talks. In meantime, yes, some potential homebuyers in the area do suffer, but I;m not sure what else will happen except everything is cyclical especially in real estate.


16 people like this
Posted by Sarah
a resident of Midtown
on Oct 30, 2016 at 12:02 pm

@parent of young adults: Children of current Asian parents absolutely dominate competitive science fairs. These children will soon dominate the tech industry and academic science. This does not mean that they have some innate superior intelligence, but it does mean that they are focused in school and work hard on science and math (STEM). This is part of the so-called "tiger mom" effect. I think these Asian parents should be celebrated and not criticized. BTW, I am a local white woman who raised my own kids as a tiger mom, so I guess I am prejudiced.


22 people like this
Posted by Ohlone-Gunn family
a resident of Gunn High School
on Oct 30, 2016 at 12:11 pm

Appreciate getting a perspective from someone who is more familiar with recent Palo Alto home buyers.

The School Accountability Report Cards for each school provides ethnic background data. From the most recent reports available (2014-15), there were a total of 5,537 elementary students. Ethnic distribution: 40% White, 34% Asian, 10% "Two or more races", 13% Hispanic, and 2% Black.

It will be interesting to see how long it takes for the City Council members to match the resident ethnic demographics.


24 people like this
Posted by Anonymous
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Oct 30, 2016 at 12:19 pm

You can buy a house with nothing but a tourist visa, but under federal law you can't enroll in public school on a tourist visa. Also under federal law schools can't ask students their visa status.

Prohibition on studying with a tourist visa:
Web Link

No F1 visa for public high school:
Web Link


44 people like this
Posted by Mom
a resident of Menlo Park
on Oct 30, 2016 at 3:52 pm

To state the obvious, China is one of several nations with over a million of millionaires. U.K., Japan Germany and France have more.

Palo Alto is an international destination, but is only a small city, and clearly has let the demand dictate the changing city.

The residents need to decide if they're ok with their children and grandchildren being priced out, or more likely will just plan to hand over their property to their descendants eventually, just like the European aristocracy did for generations.


11 people like this
Posted by Mom
a resident of Menlo Park
on Oct 30, 2016 at 3:54 pm

There are so many visa types, it's incredibly easy to get a student visa in the US.


35 people like this
Posted by Vacant houses
a resident of Old Palo Alto
on Oct 30, 2016 at 6:06 pm

There are two vacant houses on our block. Chinese buyers bought them two years ago, they only stayed there for a few weeks during summer. Our neighborhood is very quiet. It's not good. Hope City of Palo Alto can do something about it.


29 people like this
Posted by Anonymous
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Oct 30, 2016 at 6:31 pm

Many states have full-time resident property tax discounts. If you don't live in the house or you're only there part time, then you pay the full rate. Full time and you get a discount. No idea if that's legal or possible in California.

It's hard to say you're staying full time on a state document if that's a federal visa violation.

@Mom - curious if you've found a visa category for buying a house and attending high school. Green Card dependent - definitely. H1B dependent - Yes. F1 Visa dependent - probably but I'd talk to a lawyer. Tourist visa - no.


8 people like this
Posted by musical
a resident of Palo Verde
on Oct 30, 2016 at 11:22 pm

@Vacant houses & Anonymous -- gotta be careful legislating occupancy. What about the 4 bedroom home with just one bedroom lived in? Neighborhoods with retirees or double-income-no-kids are also "very quiet", or more accurately "less vibrant". (Sky Posse differs on what qualifies as quiet.) Will we require people to sell and downsize into a micro-apartment when their children move out?


23 people like this
Posted by Another
a resident of Adobe-Meadow
on Oct 31, 2016 at 8:47 am

Musical is right. Total return for the S&P 500 has been 210% for 1998-2016, which comes out to 6.2%/year. Only if you exclude dividends do you get 4.2% annual appreciation, and Ms. Jiang must have adjusted for inflation to get down to 2.1%.

All I can say is, as an Asian American who was born in the US, I get really uncomfortable when people start complaining about how the "Chinese" are "dominating" new home sales, the schools, and so on. The complaints are ostensibly aimed at mainland Chinese immigrants, but I suspect that when you see me and my family around town, we're probably being lumped in with all Asians as evidence of how our town is changing for the worse.

Ask yourselves, would you be so angry about all this if it were blonde-haired Swedish immigrants buying so many houses in Palo Alto, or would that be hailed as wonderful cosmopolitan diversity that enhanced our city's appeal? It's really disheartening to see that the kind of tribalism and, let's face it, racial prejudice that a certain presidential candidate is deliberately stoking in working class, deteriorating communities apparently also exists among an angry minority in an extremely well-educated, affluent city in the Bay Area.


54 people like this
Posted by eileen
a resident of College Terrace
on Oct 31, 2016 at 9:45 am

eileen is a registered user.

"Another," to answer your question. Yes, it would bother me if blond hair Swedes were coming (from Sweden) into Palo Alto and outbidding people that are living here for houses! Its not about racism, its about outsiders pushing out people who live and work here and can no longer afford to. I'm sorry you feel you are lumped into it. As an American you should also feel the same way, right? Our residents and kids can't compete with "all cash" bidding wars from "overseas" buyers (no mater what country they come from) Its the "all cash" bids that are forcing people to leave and not a dislike of Chinese! People use to be able to buy a house here with a loan. Now its impossible and would take our kids a lifetime to be able to save the millions it takes to by a house. BTW, I hate everything Trump stands for so not sure why you dragged him into the conversation.This issue is not about race, its about the ability of longtime residents and their children to be able to stay in this wonderful place.


10 people like this
Posted by musical
a resident of Palo Verde
on Oct 31, 2016 at 10:29 am

Swedes make me nervous. Are they escaping their Socialism or trying to bring it here with them? Bernie Sanders touted Sweden as a model economy. Palo Alto would be a far different place under that system, and I worry whether some of our council candidates think Palo Alto would be a far better place under that system.


70 people like this
Posted by All cash offers are really the problem
a resident of Leland Manor/Garland Drive
on Oct 31, 2016 at 10:43 am

All cash offers are really the problem is a registered user.

@eileen has a really valid point, all cash offers are hard to compete against, whether they are from someone cashing in on an IPO or someone from China. When selling a home, if you received to offers for the same amount, one in cash with a quick close or one from someone who has a loan contingency and needs 6 weeks, which one would you take?

However, I am curious how so many Chinese nationals have so much cash.


13 people like this
Posted by Another
a resident of Adobe-Meadow
on Oct 31, 2016 at 11:00 am

Eileen, in the frequent threads on this topic in this forum, the opinions expressed often lack the nuanced understanding in your post. I wish it were purely an economic, not a racial thing, but when posters here complain of the rising Asian % in PAUSD schools and talk about how different the population looks compared to a generation ago, I don't think they're making distinctions between overseas non-resident investors and those who happen to have Asian faces. I am glad that many are able, like you, to see the difference. [Portion removed.]


77 people like this
Posted by eileen
a resident of College Terrace
on Oct 31, 2016 at 12:23 pm

eileen is a registered user.

"Another", The fact that there are some non-resident Chinese in the PAUSD is directly related to the fact that houses are being bought up by overseas buyers who want their kids to go to our fine schools. We also have non-resident Europeans in the schools but many of these people are renting because they can't afford to buy homes here. Guess what, My daughter has lived here her whole life and would love to have her little daughter go to the local elementary like my Chinese, non-resident neighbor who bought his $4 million house for cash. She will not be able to buy a house here with a loan. We don't want to sell our house and leave so the up-cycle in the market only benefits sellers. Anyway, It REALLY IS ECONOMIC!! Again, its the "ALL CASH" bids that are pricing everyone except the super rich Americans and non-resident Chinese. I wish you as an American could understand. I have many wonderful and kind Chinese friends. Its a beautiful culture. I just do not appreciate bus loads of overseas buyers making it so difficult for residents here that work like dogs, live in crappy rentals and will never be able to come up with $3 million in the bank....No it is not racism, its resentment!


55 people like this
Posted by Anon
a resident of another community
on Oct 31, 2016 at 2:12 pm

I find it ironic that the people complaining about the changing makeup of their community are the same ones contributing to it! Nobody FORCED them to sell to a foreign all-cash buyer. They could have chosen the local couple with children who needed some time and a mortgage. It is greed, pure and simple.


39 people like this
Posted by Empty houses
a resident of Old Palo Alto
on Oct 31, 2016 at 2:19 pm

I agree with "Vacant Houses". It is sad to see so many empty houses on the streets. But there are public workers(teachers, police, firefighters) can't afford living close to their works.


9 people like this
Posted by Anti-Asian Sentiment
a resident of Fairmeadow
on Oct 31, 2016 at 2:24 pm

Anti-Asian Sentiment is a registered user.

@eileen -- I am not Asian, but I'm pretty sure there are pockets of anti-Asian feeling here in the Valley. I worry about it in myself sometimes ("Ugh, do so many kids really have to do all that after-school math so that my kid feels like an idiot even though he's not?!") I don't think anyone is accusing you personally of being a bigot. I think what @Another may be saying is that the real estate practices of a small set of Asians may be contributing to it.

The reason why I think there is anti-Asian bigotry here is because I've seen it, for example on the comment threads for this paper. And it's been a very fast cultural/social change for Palo Alto, which can encourage that type of insular thinking. If you want to learn more, there was a relevant article in the NY Times recently: Web Link And a discussion about it: Web Link


9 people like this
Posted by musical
a resident of Palo Verde
on Oct 31, 2016 at 3:16 pm

@Empty houses -- let's suggest Palo Alto pass a Quartering Act for teachers, police, firefighters, etc. Nobody remembers the Third Amendment.


53 people like this
Posted by eileen
a resident of College Terrace
on Oct 31, 2016 at 4:18 pm

eileen is a registered user.

The people on this thread that are voicing their concerns are not the ones leaving and selling their homes. and I don't think they are racists either. Like myself, I think they would just like to see an even playing field where anyone can buy a house to start families and go to our schools. This can't happen if buyers have to compete with all cash bids from China. The people that sell their houses for all cash are no different than the Chinese that buy them. Its not greed, its good business and investment. Would I do that? Well no, because my kids live and rent here and I love this area and I'm not moving. Yes, you are right, there are pockets of racism in the Valley and I am not happy about that. I really do think this might have to do with a feeling of being pushed out of the housing market by non-resident Chinese from China. How can we even the playing field for all the highly paid tech workers and families living in expensive rentals to be able to own a house here someday? I have German, Spanish and Swedish friends that would love to buy here. If they could use their loan money and a large down payment they could have that starter home. But guess what, there are no starter homes because they get bought up with all cash bids, torn down, stripped of all trees to make room for the three bedroom basement below. No small starter homes to be had.....


71 people like this
Posted by Overwhelming home sales
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Oct 31, 2016 at 4:24 pm

You don't need national economic figures or stock market prices, just look at the daily listings of home sales. The overwhelming number of sales are to Chinese people. Maybe one or two are second generation Asians, thats not relevant. They are millionaires and billionaires from overseas with millions to spend.

No one likes being invaded by a particular ethnic group or by a particular economic class. Explaining it away doesn't work, it is plain to see, and it has been going on for a long time. We don't like the character of the community and its schools being overwhelmed by rich foreigners.


61 people like this
Posted by Annie
a resident of Midtown
on Oct 31, 2016 at 5:04 pm

This is sad. The article assumes that the mad run-up in prices is a good thing. As someone pointed out, it's only good for the sellers (and of course the real estate agents and developers).

When we moved here 20 years ago, we moved into a real neighborhood, with a neighborhood feel. That's gone. It's been replaced by a continuous progression of scrapes and monster homes. We no longer know who lives in these homes. The last time I introduced myself to a new neighbor, I was treated so coldly I wondered why I bothered.

The article promotes the concept that off shore investors are keeping the rental market afloat. Palo Alto has always had a vibrant rental market. Except now it's only affordable to the elite few. Those "young families" she mentions can't afford to live here. It's a cruel joke.

It's hard to imagine that my kids would be able to afford to live here. But I also wonder if they would want to. How will someone feel 20 years from now when everyone else on the block is a billionaire? Very sad.


59 people like this
Posted by not diverse
a resident of Evergreen Park
on Oct 31, 2016 at 5:16 pm

I miss blacks and latinos. And it is not doing the rental market a favor for a Chinese foreigner to buy a house and rent it out to a gazillion dollars. Most of my friends were who have been here for over a decade and saved for a down payment all of a sudden got priced out by foreigners when the market leaped. They don't want an investment....they want to own a home in a community that they've been personally invested in to be pushed out. It's just sad how quickly it changed here...just within years Palo Alto turned into a high speed money hungry town. I prefer the old Palo Alto rich with intelligence and if people had money you didn't really know it and they didn't boast about it with Tesla's.


20 people like this
Posted by Visas
a resident of Menlo Park
on Oct 31, 2016 at 5:20 pm

Children of many visa types are permitted to attend schools in the US, though the rules vary by visa type. Dependent children of L, H type visas attend public schools around silicon valley. Well over 100,000+ of just these visas are granted every year, with unlimited children allowed on each approved visa. There's even something called an Investment visa (10,000 annually). If you invest $1m in founding a business in the US, you can apply for this visa. Then there's the 500,000 family or permanent resident preference immigration visas granted annually (with massive multi-year backlogs pending).

Web Link

Immigration is here to stay. Regardless of who is elected president.


10 people like this
Posted by musical
a resident of Palo Verde
on Oct 31, 2016 at 6:55 pm

"immigration visas ... with massive multi-year backlogs pending"

Sounds like our waiting lists for BMR/affordable housing.


14 people like this
Posted by Duh
a resident of Midtown
on Oct 31, 2016 at 7:13 pm

Duh is a registered user.

[Post removed.]


17 people like this
Posted by Carlos
a resident of Barron Park
on Oct 31, 2016 at 9:17 pm

Can't believe this publication relies on occassional race-related articles to generate traffic, and all the deep-seated racist outbursts that come with it.

It's amazing how quickly a so-called liberal and progressive town can turn so ugly the moment new-comers who look/play/talk differently start moving in, especially if they are wealthy enough to buy a better house than ours.

It's always easy to bash the new immigrants. They haven't figured out their rights yet.


9 people like this
Posted by Duck Walk
a resident of Midtown
on Nov 1, 2016 at 8:56 am

Duck Walk is a registered user.

[Post removed due to same poster using multiple names]


7 people like this
Posted by HUTCH 7.62
a resident of Portola Valley
on Nov 1, 2016 at 9:12 am

So lets embrace diversity and build a Ranch 99 at edgewood shopping center! Palo Altans should be more welcoming of change. If the city of Milpitas can do it we can too. Embrace Hope and Change lets move America Forward.


5 people like this
Posted by Hey, Hey
a resident of Midtown
on Nov 1, 2016 at 9:28 am

Hey, Hey is a registered user.

[Post removed due to same poster using multiple names]


68 people like this
Posted by Fighting for OUR rights
a resident of Midtown
on Nov 1, 2016 at 12:13 pm

Fighting for OUR rights is a registered user.

Eileen is right: the problem is not racism, it's resentment of what the Chinese have done to the housing markets in the Bay Area. There are other cities in other states and countries having the same problem with Chinese nationals. The difference is they have passed effective legislation that favors the CITIZENS of those countries!

As for where the money comes from, many financial publications have reported that many Chinese men take out loans for millions of dollars, then quickly leave the country to buy real estate in the US and elsewhere. The Chinese government is losing TRILLIONS of dollars per year this way-- because these people do not even attempt to pay back their loans. Supposedly, some of these people have warrants out for their arrest, should they set foot in China again!


56 people like this
Posted by parent of young adults
a resident of Palo Alto High School
on Nov 1, 2016 at 12:47 pm

Please leave Sweden out of it. As a 1/2 Swede, I have had persons of other ethnic origins here look scornfully at me (I am also very tall). I am originally from another area (though not born overseas).
This goes to show there are segments of any ethnic population that don't care for the looks of other ethnic populations. There are also tons or us regular folks here, too, who don't take any notice. But I will tell you there are not many Scandinavians around here. They have no material effect on the local area housing market.
Another national origin ethnic group IS having an effect, and I also take care to distinguish them from those of that ethnic origin who ARE CITIZENS now of this country.
We are really talking about people bringing cash from outside this country who ARE NOT CITIZENS. I hope people understand this clarification.


63 people like this
Posted by Fighting for OUR rights
a resident of Midtown
on Nov 1, 2016 at 12:48 pm

Apparently , there are some issues between the US and China concerning their joint extradition treaty.

The US and China differ on the definition of "criminal".

China wants its citizens suspected of defaulting on large loans and investing Chinese money in US real estate extradited to China for prosecution. The US refuses to do this because we don't consider loan defaults as criminal offenses ( the debtors' prisons were outlawed nearly a century ago!).

Trouble may be brewing-- will Chinese "agents" kidnap offending parties and take them back to China? Where they could possibly be executed?


12 people like this
Posted by Another
a resident of Adobe-Meadow
on Nov 1, 2016 at 1:58 pm

Against my better judgment, let me try one more time here. I know I’m not going to change the minds of any of the more vehement posters here, but I’m hoping that other readers of this forum may appreciate this.

So everyone here claims that antipathy towards Asian people has absolutely nothing to do with their complaints about people from China buying houses in Palo Alto. Nothing to do with race at all. What you’re mad about is non-citizens with ill-gotten millions swooping in and jacking up all house prices in Palo Alto.

But in the same breath, you have some posters (whose posts have been removed by the admin) complaining about how “rude” Chinese immigrant families are, saying that the immigrants themselves are the racist ones. One poster tossed out some straw man anecdote about some Chinese family who allegedly looks down on white people and teaches their children to avoid white people. Overwhelming Home Sales” said, “No one likes being invaded by a particular ethnic group”.

OK, so you think Chinese immigrants are rude and bigoted, and you don’t like being “invaded” by them. Any mention of citizen status or ill-gotten sources of income? Nope. It’s just plain dislike of Chinese people. And the straw man anecdotes ignore the hundreds of other Asian and Asian American families who are not rude, who participate actively in our community, and whose kids are probably friends with your kids. You had a bad interaction with one Chinese guy and somehow view this as proof of the objectionable nature of the entire race? Apparently, US presidential politics is not the only thing that alt-right-style hysteria is polluting.

When you complain about newly-arrived Asian immigrants, you're complaining about what my parents were a generation ago. Contrary to what some of the more hysterical posters here might predict, our family ended up thoroughly integrated into American society, and some of us even like to participate in local community discussions sometimes.


19 people like this
Posted by Son of Immigrants
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Nov 1, 2016 at 4:04 pm

[Post removed.]


47 people like this
Posted by Anon
a resident of another community
on Nov 1, 2016 at 6:00 pm

@Another,

I agree with you that there is an undercurrent of racism in this topic, but really, who can blame them? Before you call me racist, I am a 2nd generation Asian-American, so I am not trying to be racist here. I live in another community that also had issues with locals being priced out of the market, but not to the extent as Palo Alto. I do believe that the buyers being Chinese is absolutely at the heart of all the animosity. People understand that their market is not open to foreign buyers but ours is, and that their children are advanced way ahead of American students via after school academies and weekend Chinese schools (usually by parents'insistence). My child's middle school Chinese friends are already taking Calculus and will probably finish college math curriculum by the time they finish high school.

Not only are these buyers not interested in integrating with the community, they are only concerned with getting their kids into a prestigious college. They are also taking college/honors/AP slots that would have been filled by a hardworking-yet-less-college-prepped US citizen. I can understand the vitriol and emotions concerning this issue.


34 people like this
Posted by Weak Defense
a resident of Stanford
on Nov 1, 2016 at 6:27 pm

[Post removed.]


29 people like this
Posted by musical
a resident of Palo Verde
on Nov 1, 2016 at 6:31 pm

Visit any nearby state and ask how they feel about incoming Californians affecting affordability.


46 people like this
Posted by Please!
a resident of Midtown
on Nov 1, 2016 at 7:27 pm

Please! is a registered user.

Another: Clearly you don't understand that because you are an Asian- AMERICAN, an American citizen, Asian nationals will have no respect for you, and will automatically dislike you. They won't even try to hide it!

Isn't that racism?!?


39 people like this
Posted by eileen
a resident of College Terrace
on Nov 1, 2016 at 8:45 pm

eileen is a registered user.

Honestly, I have no idea who the audience is for this article. Why on earth would Xin Jian think longtime Palo Alto residents (who have no desire to move) would be happy about bus loads of Chinese nationals rolling down the street looking at real estate investments? Are you kidding? This might be one of the reasons we have a housing and rental crisis. Just my humble opinion....


18 people like this
Posted by Another
a resident of Adobe-Meadow
on Nov 2, 2016 at 10:35 am

@anon says: "Not only are these buyers not interested in integrating with the community, they are only concerned with getting their kids into a prestigious college. They are also taking college/honors/AP slots that would have been filled by a hardworking-yet-less-college-prepped US citizen."

This again shows that what many people object to is not necessarily the whole non-resident/ill-gotten money argument that the "I'm not racist" folks are making. You're making a blanket criticism of all Chinese immigrants, regardless of immigration status, citizenship, or where their money came from.

You're saying that Chinese immigrants aren't interested in integrating with the community. Based on what I see at my kids' elementary school, there are plenty of Chinese immigrant parents who do not fit this stereotype. You'll see plenty of immigrant parents volunteering for school events, in the classroom, driving on field trips, and so on. How do you think these parents feel when they read these vehement, negative blanket characterizations blasted out on these forums all the time?

Are there some immigrant parents who don't get involved? Of course. But there are plenty who do, and it's quite unfair to turn your nose up at an entire group of people based on a few examples. There are white parents at our school who are not friendly, but I don't view this as proof that all white people are like that.

@Weak Defense says, "@another: how can you defend people who would look down on you, even sneer at you, maybe spit at you or you children? Criticize your parenting because you let you kids have friends or play outdoors? Point out your physical faults as ugly--to your face!?"

As difficult as I find this to believe, I'm sorry that a Chinese immigrant in Palo Alto sneered and spat at you and said that you were ugly. However, you seem to be saying that this is behavior that is universal among this group of people. That is simply ridiculous.

Come on, guys, in the 19th century, the yellow journalists in the US hysterically accused the Chinese of all being drug addicts and enslaving white women...haven't we moved beyond that? Vilifying an entire ethnic group and sanctimoniously pointing to some hyperbolic example as proof that Americans need to be protected from this ethnic group is just pathetic. To use another example, saying that an entire group of immigrants are rapists and drug dealers may appeal to a certain group demographic in this country, but I really thought people in Palo Alto would be above that.

@Please! says, "Another: Clearly you don't understand that because you are an Asian- AMERICAN, an American citizen, Asian nationals will have no respect for you, and will automatically dislike you. They won't even try to hide it!"

I've traveled extensively and lived in Asia, in China and other Chinese countries over there, so I've met all kinds of people in those places. To say "Asian nationals will have no respect for you, and will automatically dislike you. They won't even try to hide it!"....well, that just doesn't ring true to me. I actually worked in an office staffed by locals for awhile, and by no means did I ever witness this overt hostility you allude to.

Of course an Asian American is not going to be viewed as a total insider over there and there will necessarily be language and cultural barriers, but I had many pleasant interactions and formed some good friendships while over there. Again, these cardboard cutout, hysterical, simplistic stereotypes are not helpful at all and are wildly inaccurate.

I would just ask all of you to be a bit more open-minded. Selfish jerks exist in all ethnic groups. For every Chinese immigrant you find objectionable, there are plenty more who are good people who just want the same things you do for their families. All this rabid vilification and stereotyping hurts us all.





























45 people like this
Posted by HUTCH 7.62
a resident of Portola Valley
on Nov 2, 2016 at 10:41 am

Pulling the Race card is getting old and a sad excuse to make a point. I find it ironic that it is assumed that all posters are white. ..... Since when did China become a race instead of a nationality???


44 people like this
Posted by Disgusted
a resident of Midtown
on Nov 2, 2016 at 1:45 pm

Disgusted is a registered user.

I agree with Hutch 7.62, above. This playing of the race card is a thinly veiled cheap trick for privileged people from China to get what they want-- and they DO get a lot of favoritism and priority in PAUSD for this very reason.

American citizens and institutions should not have to change their values and culture simply because foreigners who refuse to become citizens don't like them!

Another-- you are in deep denial! We have travelled all over Asia, and only the Japanese pretend to like Americans of any color!

We have a long-time friend who is extremely fluent, has lived in China for 4 years at a stretch over the last 20 years. He is from Ireland, is a high level exec for a local tech company, and has been married to a Chinese national for 16 years. When they are here, in Palo Alto, she is treated well by the locals even though her English is pretty poor. However, when in China, BOTH are treated like S***: he because he's Irish, she because she married a Caucasian. As a result, she has come to HATE it when they go back to China! The exec, very well off, no kids, tried to buy a house in China, and was denied. He has dual citizenship with the U.K. and the US, would like to become a Chinese citizen since he lives there most of the time. He was told it was NOT allowed. His wife tried to buy the house I her name, since she's a citizen of Chona/- but women, even married, are NOT allowed to buy a home!
[Portion removed.]

Another, please stop making cheesy excuses for bad behavior. They simply don't hold up when it is not one or two instances, but hundreds-- and in the case of some people, thousands, not including the governments of these aforementioned countries. Your denial does not make you Cleopatra.


39 people like this
Posted by Ahem
a resident of Old Palo Alto
on Nov 2, 2016 at 2:33 pm

The much-admired governor of Louisiana, Bobby Jindal-- a son of immigrants from India who were naturalized-- has been quoted as saying, " Immigration without assimilation is invasion."

That is exactly what is happening in the Bay Area and large cities world-wide.

Every state or country I go to has many people complaining about wealthy Chinese immigrants and their self-entitled demands for preferential treatment! How they try to influence the curricula in the schools by playing the race card; demanding that the national flag not be flown at schools and universities because THEY find it offensive; cutting ahead of local citizens in lines at stores, banks, theaters, museums, etc.; saying rude and our- of-place things to local citizens in public venues; stealing towels from gyms and locker rooms.

If that isn't rude, racist, offensive, demanding, even criminal behavior, WHAT IS?


40 people like this
Posted by eileen
a resident of College Terrace
on Nov 2, 2016 at 3:11 pm

eileen is a registered user.

"Another", you could do everyone on this thread a big favor by sticking to the original topic and not being so defensive. The reality is, non-resident Chinese are coming here in bus loads buying up property for cash! Outbidding people like my highly paid daughter (Psychologist) and Chemical Engineer husband and many other highly paid residents, many who are renting those very houses that non resident Chinese bought! Over 40% of all houses in this city are rentals, many, many Chinese owned. You say, these overseas Chinese buyers "just want the same things you do for their families". What, now we are suppose to forgo what we (citizens) want for the future of our kids who grew up here so thousands of rich (mainland) Chinese can enjoy this city? Sorry, but just like others on this thread, we might just be a little resentful and perhaps a little angry. You seem a little tone deaf if you can't see this.


37 people like this
Posted by Just Stop It!
a resident of Midtown
on Nov 2, 2016 at 3:37 pm

Just Stop It! is a registered user.

To another: Why so defensive? You are not an immigrant, you are an Ameican. Perhaps you wish to be a wealthy Chinese immigrant with preferential " me first" status? Deferred to out of fear of being considered racist, when just the opposite is true? Or perhaps you yourself Have some racist tendencies,defending the racist, entitled behavior of the affluent Chinese home buyers?

Please stop blaming Palo Altans and citizens of the Bay Area. This " problem" is occurring everywhere the Chinesr nationals move to: Singapore, Vietnam, Australia, New Zealand, The UK, Western Europe, Sweden, Finland, Denmark, Norway, South Africa, Canada.

My father had a rule he called "The Three A**h**eRule".
If one person says you're an a**h**e, ignore it. If two people say it, think about it. If THREE people say you're an a**h**e, you ARE an a**h**e! See the correlation? People in much of the world are feeling that the mainland Chinese are not nice people.

The evidence is overwhelming! It is about invasive tactics, arrogance, rudeness, entitlement, and racism toward all, ALL non-mainland Chinese!

Please look at the facts, and please examine your own mind!


41 people like this
Posted by Anon
a resident of another community
on Nov 2, 2016 at 4:48 pm

Another,

I disagree with you that these newly arrived Chinese are interested in integrating in the community. They are not here to become US citizens. They merely want to educate their children at the expense of ours. Many will go back to China after being educated here.

If you can read Chinese, take a look at the Chinese newspapers. They are full of propaganda from the Chinese government. I have personally heard kids from China attending US schools spew anti-US sentiment that was obviously taught to them by some form of government-sponsored news source. They present a charming front (well, sometimes), but they are duplicitous behind your back.

They are more racist to any non-Chinese than people here in America. Be grateful you are here and not there.


37 people like this
Posted by eileen
a resident of College Terrace
on Nov 2, 2016 at 8:27 pm

eileen is a registered user.

This article by a Chinese American realtor pretty much sums it up.
Web Link


5 people like this
Posted by Anti-Asian Sentiment
a resident of Fairmeadow
on Nov 2, 2016 at 8:37 pm

Anti-Asian Sentiment is a registered user.

Well, I guess the point from above is proven, that anti-Asian sentiment exists here, though that should probably be restated as anti-Chinese. This thread is eye-opening.

We have now got a list of reasons why some posters dislike (some) Chinese people. Some of the reasons given can plausibly be substantiated with data, and so are factual to some degree. So it's reasonable to assume they are observable by many people. Since people are wired to generalize, some will expand this to all Chinese. Or even to all east-Asians, because to some eyes the east-Asian races kind of look alike.

Is this racism? Of course it is.

Is it justified? Of course it's not.

Is it understandable? I would say yes, it is.

How do we get past it? That is the Million Dollar Question. I don't think it's through impersonal threads like this. It needs in-person encounters, honest conversations. The Minnesota Science Museum had a fantastic interactive exhibit on racism recently, including live performances and forums, videotaped discussions of teens, historical reviews, and more. It was difficult, but effective. I would love to see ideas on what we in Palo Alto can do to address this more directly and honestly, at schools, in civic centers, at senior centers.


37 people like this
Posted by Chinese Born Here
a resident of Palo Alto High School
on Nov 2, 2016 at 9:53 pm

Phew, made it through all the comments. As someone who grew up in Palo Alto as a Chinese in the 70s and whose parents were born here, I'd like to add. There were very few Asians and they were either Cantonese or Japanese; there were only 1 or less E. Indians per grade level. There were no Asians at my South PA elementary school. At Paly, there were only half a dozen per grade level (thus, we all knew of each other) but we were treated like Caucasians because we were assimilated and there were no negative stereotypes. I never felt any racism while growing up here.

Frankly, I feel more racism now that there has been an influx of Asian immigrants because of the negative stereotypes. We rented in South PA prior to finding a home to buy in North PA so I have encountered parents from both ends and the North PA Asians are generally more assimilated. People shouldn't assume that Asian immigrant parents are all Tiger Moms (force their children to do things they don't want to do) because it's simply not true. Many of them wanted to leave the rigor of China and believe in a more balanced life for their children. Sure, Asians still prioritize academics and want their children to do well in school, but not at all costs like some Tiger Moms operate.

And let's not forget that the E. Indians are also Asians, although they are more assimilated in their social skills. I know of some Asians who disrespect Americans and just want to seize the opportunities of America without integrating.

As as someone mentioned above, it's disheartening when we are all clumped together by ignorant thoughts because there is a difference between 2nd generation + and 1st generation Asians.


48 people like this
Posted by Irish born here
a resident of Old Palo Alto
on Nov 2, 2016 at 10:22 pm

All the new "immigrant" Third world Aristocrats, should not be able to own land here,period. This is not a racist statement. In China one can only get a 70 year lease, in Mexico one can only get a Fido Camiso ( 50 year lease).ect......Why is the U.S. for sale?

Drain the Swamp.

Even first generation born Legal Immigrants must agree with this statement.

We are getting out priced with ill gotten gains. Period.


28 people like this
Posted by Anon
a resident of another community
on Nov 2, 2016 at 10:58 pm

Anti Asian sentiment,

Did I say anything disrespectful about naturalized/US citizens of Asian descent, or even other people of Asian descent? Being Chinese is an ethnicity, not a race. And yes, there is definitely anti-Mainland Chinese sentiment here, not necessarily anti-asian.

You don't find as much animosity against Asian Indians, Japanese, Filipino, etc. I believe the contentious history between the US and China belies all the hatred on this thread. Again, it is human nature to be suspicious of anything different from one's own kind. Certainly racism exists, but I don't believe it is the core of this thread.


45 people like this
Posted by eileen
a resident of College Terrace
on Nov 2, 2016 at 11:48 pm

eileen is a registered user.

For the last time, this article is about mainland Chinese coming here in buses and shopping for homes where they are able to outbid everyone else with ALL CASH offers. What is racist about that?? I don't agree with any of the negative things people are saying about foreign immigrants on this thread. As a longtime resident and homeowner of Palo Alto I would like to see locals and their children, US citizens or foreign workers renting here to be able to buy homes too. There is nothing racist about that! We have a housing shortage and mainland Chinese buyers are helping to fuel that because they have the ability to come up with ALL CASH bids. Please stay on the topic and talk about this issue and how we can fix it! And stop with the racist conversation please.


28 people like this
Posted by musical
a resident of Palo Verde
on Nov 3, 2016 at 12:07 am

"... talk about this issue and how we can fix it"

Well, 50,000 of us could each cough up $100 in cash and outbid the next foreign offer. Then we could rent it cheap to a teacher or something. Maybe our $100 could be deductible, reducing out-of-pocket to $70 or so. Rinse and repeat every time another property comes up for sale.

Just a thought...


26 people like this
Posted by Anon
a resident of another community
on Nov 3, 2016 at 12:54 pm

Or you could convince the seller to sell to someone local instead, someone who might need a loan and contingencies. Sellers can not be absolved from blame in causing this mess.


21 people like this
Posted by HUTCH 7.62
a resident of Portola Valley
on Nov 3, 2016 at 2:01 pm

^ I belive that is illegal. You know those equal opportunity/ housing laws.....

How about pushing Sacramento to change the laws. So only citizens can own homes.

Or as someone else on this board pointed out, you could tipoff Beijing.


44 people like this
Posted by WeDID
a resident of Old Palo Alto
on Nov 3, 2016 at 2:24 pm

When we outgrew our small house in Midtown five years ago, we DID refuse suspicious all-cash offers from native Chinese. We sold to a local couple who were expecting their first child, and lowered the price by $200K so they could make the 20% down payment to qualify.

Fortunately, I am married to an economist who specializes in the global economy and international trade, so we knew what was coming.

One thing we have noticed is the anger Americans feel over the Anerican markets being broken by cheap, low quality, crappy Chinese products-- such as clothing that shrinks or falls apart in the wash, toys that break the day after Christmas, drywall that attracts mold and ruins your house while making you very ill, solar panels that destroy your roof, etc etc etc!

It is difficult to find American made products, and non-Chinese products now cost a fortune--even Korean products, almost as crappy as Chinese, now cost a fortune. As a result, now that American and other markets have been broken by the Chinese, only the wealthy can buy quality products ( usually German or Swiss or Dutch).

Americans of ALL races agree on the fact that the Chinese have become wealthy selling cheap junk,!and now have priced almost all Anericans out of our own housing market. Nor will the US government protect us as other nations' governments have done! That also angers Americans.

However, there are at lest 20 nations complaining of bad, rude, mean-spirited, desultory behavior by citizens of China. At least a dozen also complain of embezzlement and money laundering.

Basically, a disproportionate percentage of the WORLD is complaining about bad behavior by Chinese citizens living in or visiting their countries!


50 people like this
Posted by OPar
a resident of Duveneck/St. Francis
on Nov 3, 2016 at 8:15 pm

So why not a law that bans home purchases by foreigners who only have tourist visas?


34 people like this
Posted by eileen
a resident of College Terrace
on Nov 4, 2016 at 12:07 pm

eileen is a registered user.

This is the information foreign nationals get from our local realtors about tourist visa and home buying.
"Yes, you absolutely can buy a house with a tourist visa!!
However, since you are a foreign national - open a LLS or a corporation first, before you buy.
This way you'll avoid paying FIRPTA tax on your sale in the future."
So are our elected officials going to do anything about this? Of course they are, build more housing!!!


1 person likes this
Posted by Now that is rich
a resident of another community
on Nov 4, 2016 at 2:27 pm

>>>We sold to a local couple who were expecting their first child, and lowered the price by $200K so they could make the 20% down payment to qualify.<<<

Wow, congratulations. I hope our family can afford to give up $200K someday.


8 people like this
Posted by Trump is Wrong
a resident of Midtown
on Nov 4, 2016 at 4:59 pm

Trump is Wrong is a registered user.

[Post removed.]


21 people like this
Posted by midtown resident
a resident of Midtown
on Nov 5, 2016 at 11:35 am

In response to accusations of bigotry I can tell you honestly that I do not care whether the home buyers are white, black, green or blue so long as they are friendly and want to be part of the local community and care about the local community. I have seen a serious decline of neighborliness in palo alto over the last 20 odd years. People who buy housing as investments and for summer programs do not care about Palo Alto.


5 people like this
Posted by To another
a resident of another community
on Nov 5, 2016 at 12:19 pm

To Another, [portion removed]

I agree with almost everything you have said, and applaud your attempts at explaining the situation. The only thing I don't agree with is your unnecessary injecting of politics into the conversation, and essentially demonizing a political candidate and the approximately half of the population who support him. You should not lecture about stereotyping Asians, etc, and in the same breath characterize a large segment of the population based on their politics.

For the record, I am Asian-American and voting for Trump.


21 people like this
Posted by Impact fee?
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Nov 5, 2016 at 2:22 pm

A little impact fee tax would be nice.


Posted by The Problem isn't Muslims or Mexicans
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood

on Nov 5, 2016 at 6:49 pm


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9 people like this
Posted by Yassss
a resident of Midtown
on Nov 6, 2016 at 1:13 pm

Yassss is a registered user.

[Post removed.]


13 people like this
Posted by BTW
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Nov 7, 2016 at 12:17 pm

In case people are unaware, China has more billionaires, as well as multi-millionaires, than Germany, Russia, Japan and South Korea combined. More Chinese billionaires are being made every day-- and most wish to leave China. According to the Brookings Institution, Barron's, Fortune and the WSJ, 83% of Chinese citizens making over $70,000/ yr wish to leave China, out of fear that the government will take all of their money.


3 people like this
Posted by Bet?
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Nov 7, 2016 at 4:21 pm

[Post removed.]


Sorry, but further commenting on this topic has been closed.

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