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This week in the news, Shanghai Approves City’s Most Expensive Homes amid Downturn, and a new report published by the National Association of Realtors (NAR) shows that foreign purchases of US real estate jumped to 35 percent last year, with Chinese customers leading the way. China’s real estate mogul Wang Jianlin is also making big investments in the US, unveiling a plan this week to build a skyscraper in Chicago. Read on and get the latest real estate news from around the world.

Shanghai Approves City’s Most Expensive Homes amid Downturn

Shanghai has approved a developer to seek the highest ever home prices in the city, in an effort to boost its sluggish luxury home market. Shenzhen Overseas Chinese Town Co. can set prices for its high-end residential properties as high as 298,000 yuan ($48,100) per square meter (10.76 square feet). The highest asking price  in the metropolis to date, according to SouFun Holdings Ltd. (SFUN), China’s biggest real estate website, and realtor Centaline Group. “This is a kind of policy-easing as the government is trying to boost buyers’ confidence,” said Liu Yuan, a Shanghai-based researcher at Centaline. “If developers are allowed to sell at a higher price, then people will think the market is not as bad as they may have suspected.” (Bloomberg)

Wealthy Chinese Are Top Foreign Buyers of U.S. Real Estate

Overseas buyers scooped up $92.2 billion worth of U.S. real estate last year, driven mainly by wealthy Chinese looking for a safe haven for their families and fortunes. A new report from the National Association of Realtors explains sales activity from international buyers surged 35 percent in the 12 months that ended in March. While international buyers represent only 7 percent of total existing home sales nationally over the period, their buying is highly focused on high-end homes in Florida, California, Texas and Arizona. Chinese buyers were the largest foreign buyers measured by dollar volume, with sales jumping 72 percent over the 12 month period to $22 billion. Canada was second with $13.8 billion in deals, followed by the United Kingdom and India, each with $5.8 billion. (NBC News)

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China’s Real Estate Tycoon to Build New Chicago Skyscraper

Beijing-based real estate firm Dalian Wanda Group has made its first investment in the United States via a $900 million property fronting Chicago River. The 350-metre high development will be the third tallest building in the city, comprising high-end residential, commercial and five-star hotel units. “Investing in Chicago property is just Wanda’s first move into the US real estate market,” billionaire Wang Jianlin, owner of Wanda, said in media statement, adding that his firm would also invest in high-profile developments in Los Angeles, San Francisco and New York City in the next 12 months as part of the company’s global expansion. (Property Report)

Singapore Property Giant Gets Green Light to Buy Australand

Singapore property giant Frasers Centrepoint Ltd (FCL) has got clearance from the Foreign Investment Review Board of Australia (FIRB) to go ahead with plans to buy Australand Property Group in a deal worth around A$2.6 billion (US $2.4 billion). FCL, whose main shareholder is Thai billionaire Charoen Sirivadhanabhakdi, is one of the city-state’s biggest property companies with total assets of around S$11.4 billion (US$9.1 billion). Analysts said the purchase of Australand will help boost FCL’s recurring income base and diversify risk from the Singapore residential market, which has been hit by a raft of government cooling measures. (Channel NewsAsia)

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