US Property Conference Returns to Hong KongChinese investment in American properties has nearly doubled each of the past three years and overall international investment in the United States has surged to record levels in 2013 according to the National Association of Realtors (NAR). Chinese investors are now the second largest segment in the United States and Hong Kong buyers have led the way.

The returning bi-annual US Property Conference gathers experts to discuss US property trends, taxation, finance, immigration and other housing issues. The conference is coordinated by the ONEILL Group Hong Kong, a local firm specialising in US properties. The investor seminar scheduled for June 10 is open to individual buyers interested in American markets.

US property values tumbled 34 percent nationally in the housing crash of 2008 with some markets falling up to 70 percent. The recovery, which began in late 2009, has gained momentum with national values gaining 11.6 percent according to the latest NAR report; last month’s price gains are the largest since the start of the last housing boom in November 2005. The number of homes and condominiums sold jumped 8.2 and 8.8 percent respectively, reflecting increased absorption rates across the country.

Falling inventory and accelerated absorption rates have resulted in 12 months of consecutive value gains. “The number of US cities with big price discounts is shrinking,” states Patrick ONeill of the ONEILL Group. “Manhattan, San Francisco and Honolulu are back to pre-meltdown prices and heading straight up. Even the hardest hit markets, like Las Vegas and Florida, posted gains of over 25 percent this past year,” he adds.

According to firms representing Hong Kong buyers the market is segmented into investment, luxury and ultra-luxury. Investment properties are generally priced under US$150,000 (HK$1.2 million) and are sold in buy-to-let schemes with tenants in place. “Top investment markets for Chinese investors have been Florida and Las Vegas,” says Adam Kovacsik of CBI America. “Normally the properties provide complete management services and net rental yields over 6 percent,” he stated.

For luxury and ultra-luxury properties the trend has been towards new branded developments in prime locations. One example is the Mandarin Oriental Residences in Las Vegas. The Mandarin developed a programme specifically for international purchasers, which takes care of all letting and management services. “The Mandarin Oriental in Las Vegas is very popular with Hong Kong investors,” says ONeill. “The buyers understand the brand quality, the prices have been adjusted from US$1,643,000 to US$680,000 [HK$5.2 million] and the rental yields are very strong. It’s definitely one of my top picks in the country,” he concludes.

The US Property Conference runs through the month of June, with the investor seminar on the evening of June 10 is open to individual buyers, featuring experts discussing the US property forecast, taxation, finance and immigration. For more information about the conference contact the ONEILL Group Hong Kong at, or call Ms Wong 3103 1008.