Homeowners in Asia have become the fastest-growing segment of offshore buyers for U.S. homes, according to the National Association of Realtors (NAR). While Canada was the top source of international clients in terms of transactions volume, China represented the largest sales dollar volume due to higher average-price properties purchased by Chinese buyers. NAR estimates that the total international sales from Chinese buyers nearly doubled in a year, increasing to $22 billion during the 12-month period ending March 2014, up from $12.8 billion in the prior period. Buyers in China represented 22 percent of the $92 billion spent by international buyers.

The top foreign buyers of Hawaii properties in 2013 were from Canada, Japan, Australia, Hong Kong, China, Singapore, New Zealand, the United Kingdom, Korea and Germany respectively. According to data from Title Guaranty Escrow Services, Inc., buyers in Canada and Japan were the top two markets with $244.6 million and $189.5 million, respectively. Combined the two markets represented nearly 80 percent of total foreign sales of $547.2 million. Meanwhile, with a total of $52 million, Chinese buyers (China, Hong Kong, Singapore and Taiwan) ranked third. Of the total foreign sales on Oahu, Japanese buyers represented 62% of the total $253.8 million spent on real estate sales in 2013. In second place were Chinese buyers with 18 percent followed by Canadian buyers with seven percent.

Coldwell Banker Pacific Properties recognizes this trend and has created an innovative, comprehensive  international marketing program focused on international investors looking to buy high-end homes in Hawaii. The initiative markets Coldwell Banker Pacific Properties luxury listings on a global basis through a combination of print and online advertising, targeted direct marketing and other outreach efforts. Additionally, the program leverages Coldwell Banker Real Estate LLC’s extensive network of offices and sales associates throughout the Far East to reach qualified buyers of high-end properties on Oahu.

“For a variety of reasons such as favorable exchange rates and affordable home prices, international buyers are increasingly looking to the United States when it comes to real estate investments,” said Mike James, president of Coldwell Banker Pacific Properties. “Given the strong interest for Hawaii properties, it is critical to reach foreign buyers, in particular the Far East with a very targeted and strategic marketing program in their home countries. Our goal is to put Coldwell Banker Pacific Properties luxury listings in front of the widest possible audience of affluent buyers from Asia, and do it in the style that potential buyers in these countries prefer.”

Targeted marketing

Coldwell Banker Pacific Properties has been marketing properties with extensive advertising in a host of influential global publications, including the Wall Street Journal Asia edition, Wall Street Journal Asia insert of Homes & Estates Magazine, Millionaire Asia, and Previews International Homes & Estates.

The program also gives agents the opportunity to showcase their properties on leading international websites including:

  • ListGlobally.com which helps to syndicate listings to a global network of the leading property portals in key international markets;
  • Caimeiju, one of China’s top websites specializing in luxury properties in America that markets listings through social media sites, real estate and video sharing sites. Caimeiju also allows for Chinese search engine optimization, positioning listings on top Chinese local search engines with Chinese keywords;
  • CN.WSJ.com, the Wall Street Journal’s online Chinese edition on which all Previews listings are featured.  These listings also are featured on PropGoLuxury.com, a luxury real estate site created to fulfill the high demand among affluent Chinese customers for exclusive properties around the world and;
  • JamesEdition.com, the world’s online luxury marketplace targeting wealthy consumers in more than 200 countries and territories around the world.

In all, listings are exposed to more than 15 million buyers a day worldwide on more than 700 highly trafficked websites.

Additionally, Coldwell Banker Pacific Properties’ Previews International listings are featured in a targeted micro-site called CBPLuxury.com. The site is used when consumers in China, Russia and the Middle East search for listings using their native search engine – Baidu (the Chinese version of Google), Yande (the Russian version of Google), and Google UAE (the Middle East’s version of Google).

Coldwell Banker Pacific Properties has been complementing the Internet and print advertising efforts with a direct marketing program overseas designed to reach more than 100,000 affluent individuals in Europe, Asia and the Middle East. The network of buyers is an exclusive marketing tool for Coldwell Banker Pacific Properties agents.

Leveraging worldwide agent network

In addition to these marketing efforts, the company is able to leverage one of the largest networks of agents worldwide as part of the program.

“Our global network of 83,000 sales associates in 3,100 offices in some 50 countries around the globe ensures our marketing efforts give Coldwell Banker Pacific Properties agents and their listings a truly global reach in order to attract the right buyers for our properties,” said James.

Coldwell Banker Real Estate LLC is among the fastest-growing real estate companies in Asia.

“It is not surprising that Asian buyers are looking to purchase a second or vacation home in Hawaii, particularly on the island of Oahu,” said Patti Nakagawa, Previews International Director for Coldwell Banker Pacific Properties. “Hawaii is desirable to Asian buyers because our culture is much more similar to that of their homelands compared to other U.S. cities. Since Hawaii’s population is predominantly Asian, there is a comfort level in being around people who speak the same language and enjoy food that reminds them of home.”

“Viewed as a safe haven, Asian buyers are electing to send their children to Hawaii for summer school as well. Location-wise, with Hawaii situated between Asian and U.S. Mainland, our islands provide the perfect getaway for holidays such as Golden Week and the new year holiday periods for the Japanese and Chinese,” added Nakagawa. “Additionally, many are attracted to Hawaii for its year-round tropical climate, world-class shopping, natural beauty, flourishing arts and culture, cuisine and medical care.”

Coldwell Banker Pacific Properties has increased the number of agents who are fluent in Japanese and Chinese. There are currently 32 agents that speak Japanese, 16 that speak Chinese and 15 who are fluent in Korean. Seeing the potential in the Chinese market, Coldwell Banker Pacific Properties has doubled the number of agents who speak Chinese within the past year.