Downtown Crossing has evolved into proof of the fact that Boston is indeed a housing mecca for wealthy individuals from around the globe. At the Millennium Tower, there have been buyers who are from Hong Kong, Greece, and the Middle East that have been purchasing condos and in some cases in bulk.
A recent immigrant from China, Bingyi Chen, who currently resides in a townhome in Concord MA has purchased 16 condominiums on behalf of wealthy investors in his native country. He has paid over $15 million in cash for these homes with nearly all of the 16 units being directly above one another running up to the 30th floor. These condos are listed for rent and start at $4,100 per month where profits are then sent back to the investors in China.
This is a prime example of how the global housing market of today is evolving. Boston has become a popular destination for international investors that are seeking to diversify their portfolio by investing in luxury condominiums that are being built. Boston has always been less expensive than San Francisco or New York while it maintains a stable economy with prestigious universities and a growing list of international flights.
Millennium’s top sales executive, Richard Baumert, said that three quarters of the new owners will actually live in the units. Baumert would not comment on buyers such as Chen, but he did validate that the company does receive offers to purchase condos in bulk.
“We get a lot of inquiries. We’ll look at each one individually, sometimes it depends on the timing,” said Baumert, who expects the number of international buyers to climb as more luxury towers open in Boston. “We’ve only seen the tip of the iceberg,” Baumert said. “This city is on a world stage right now. People want to be here.”
In 2015, foreign buyers had represented $102.6 billion dollars worth of real estate transactions in the United States according to data from the National Association of Realtors. This is 50% more since 6 years ago in 2010. The amount of buyers from Canada and the United Kingdom have decreased while there has been a surge of Chinese buyers lately with $27.3 billion spent last year.
It is expected that these figures will increase as wealthy Chinese are looking to diversify their holdings outside of their native land. Some of these buyers are also are looking to gain a presence here either for immediate personal use or for their children who are or will be studying in the U.S. A study by Rosen Consulting Group, a real estate economics firm in Berkeley, Calif., estimated that Chinese buyers could spend $50 billion on U.S. homes by 2025..
“A lot of that is for investment purposes,” said Arthur Margon, who coauthored the study. “It’s investing for income, and investing in what appears, to Chinese eyes, to be a more stable environment.”