Chinese Investors Create Ghost Cities in America

China's overseas property investment to reach $20 bln in 2015-study
Chinese investors are set to fork out $20 billion on offshore property this year, up 21 percent on 2014 as more domestic real estate developers and insurers internationalise their holdings, Jones Lang LaSalle Inc said on Monday.

Chinese offshore property investment had increased 46 percent to $16.5 billion last year on the year before, with nearly 70 percent going to commercial real estate, the property consultancy said in a report.

This story is about outbound investment to California and comes with this anecdote:
Chinese Real-Estate Firm Looks West—to California
“Around 2011, that’s when the floodgates really opened up,” said Ken DeLeon, founder of DeLeon Realty, which specializes in high-end homes in Silicon Valley. Mr. DeLeon said developers have begun bringing in feng shui consultants, and prices of homes are listed with more eights at the end, a lucky number in Chinese culture.

Some of the homes end up sitting vacant for much of the year, brokers say, used only when the owner visits the area.

This, in turn, has sparked concerns among some longtime residents that an influx of foreign ownership could ultimately lead some neighborhoods to become empty during days and nights, where homes are just investments.

Peter Carpenter, a board member of the Menlo Park Fire Protection District, which includes Atherton, said he worries about firefighters, who typically take risks to extinguish a fire under the presumption that a house is occupied.

“If you knew for sure that there was nobody in it, you would take a very different approach,” he said. “From a fire-department standpoint, it means putting your people at risk for no reason.”

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