Chinese home buyers still see California as a hot destination, though their buying activity has slowed down a little bit this year, said Oscar Wei, senior economist and director of research at the California Association of Realtors, in a recent interview.
"It's easy to assimilate into the environment because a lot of Chinese and Asians live in California. In Southern California, San Gabriel Valley has a good establishment for Chinese communities. The same is San Francisco Bay Area," he said.
For most Chinese buyers, the main reason of purchasing a residential property in California is education -- so that their children can come and study in some of the prestigious colleges in California, said Wei.
"Over a long period of time, typically home prices will increase. Some people will rent out their property to use the rent to compensate for the cost. I think the mindset is: it's safe to buy in California because home prices will grow in a long run," he explained. "They can use it for their children as a home, or as a rental property which generates a stream of income."
In contrast to the 56 percent decline in Chinese home buying in the United States last year as reported by the National Association of Realtors, Wei said California, as a whole, did not see a drastic decrease.
The fall partly stems from the trade tensions between the United States and China, as well as a weaker yuan, the Chinese currency, and China's tightened capital control, he said.
While expecting to see more impact in Southern California, especially in San Gabriel Valley, where home prices are more affordable compared with the San Francisco Bay Area, Wei noted that the effect "will not be dramatic -- a couple of percentage points or less."
Lawrence Yun, chief economist of the National Association of Realtors, echoed Wei, saying that California, being geographically closer to China, has always been an attraction for Chinese people.
"Furthermore, the fact that there are more Asians living in the state and also the school system certainly make the Chinese buyers more comfortable," he said.
In the high-end property market, Yun said he expected to see increasing activity of Chinese buyers next year. "Given China's economic growth, I think people want to find good prices in expensive real estate and expensive metro markets," he said.