The April edition of 425 Business Magazine featured a cover story entitled “East Meets Eastside,” which was headlined by comments from Lili Shang, a Founding Member of RSIR’s new Asia Desk. The article is a continuation of recent press that has brought mainstream awareness to the trend — Asian investors are increasingly targeting real estate opportunities in both Seattle and Bellevue.
“It has just been crazy. This is a very exciting market, and a very exciting place to be today in the U.S.,” Shang says in the article. “I’ve been lucky. There is a lot of investment coming from Asia and China, and it’s going to change the area tremendously.” Immigrants, competing with thriving companies’ other new hires in the midst of a severe housing shortage, have helped push area home prices to record highs.”
Shang says the recent Obama Administration action to extend (multiple entry) tourist visas from one year to ten years for Chinese nationals has helped spur additional interest in the region because overseas buyers don’t need to immigrate or hold additional status in the US to enjoy a second home here. This is similar to Canadian buyers — known as snow birds who for years have been buying destination properties in the southern US. According to the National Association of Homebuilders, Chinese buyers are now the top international buyer interest in the US in terms of total dollar volume but until recently were second to the Canadians for total unit volume purchased. With it’s strengthening currency, most experts believe Chinese buyers will lead all countries in US home sales into the foreseeable future.
Born and raised in Beijing, Shang is extremely well traveled. Prior to real estate, Lili worked for a Fortune 500 company as a China Representative in Beijing and is well positioned to assist buyers both locally and internationally. She is a graduate of Beijing Normal University in Library and Information Science. Her drive for academic excellence includes studying abroad in Italy for art and at the University of Phoenix for a graduate degree in Information Technology.
Understandably, Shang’s business has skyrocketed as one of the top producing brokers at RSIR (she has since formed a team and opened a personal office at the Asia Desk in Kirkland). Her clients and even other brokers consistently refer her international buyer business because of her track record. She understands the seemingly insurmountable obstacles associated with buying real estate in another country and she is dedicated to providing a turnkey experience for her clients. This often involves travel logistics, city orientation tours, in-depth market reports and a collaborative of preferred vendors for immigration, tax planning, school administration and other considerations.
“It’s really no surprise that Lili has found so much success in such a short time,” remarks Dean Jones, President and CEO of RSIR. “It certainly helps that she is Chinese American, speaks the language and is very familiar with the customs and business culture but more so because of her work ethic and commitment to her clients. She’s travelled with me to China and is a highly valued resource as we cultivate this growing segment of our business.”
Jones points out that many local real estate companies are vying for their piece of the Asian investment segment but he doubts few are as focused.
“We are fortunate because global real estate isn’t a new part of our business model — international is our middle name,” adds Jones. “We have full time dedicated brokers connecting homebuyers on both sides of the Pacific with boots on the ground in China and beyond. We’re a proud representative of our region and helping to build the demand as we compete against other West Coast gateway cities.”