April 25 - The Chinese take Manhattan and replace Russians as top apartment buyers. Gavino Garay reports.
For the first time ever, the Chinese are replacing Russians as the top apartment buyers in Manhattan. It wasn't so long ago that Russian oligarchs dominated the world of real estate, buying status-heavy apartments like the $88 million dollar Robert A.M. Stern penthouse. Now, Russian activity in the real estate market has dropped off since the unrest in Ukraine, and the U.S. imposing sanctions on Russia. The time is right for the Chinese to buy, according to real estate brokers at Douglas Elliman Real Estate. (SOUNDBITE) (English) EILEEN HSU, DOUGLAS ELLIMAN REAL ESTATE, SAYING: "In terms of what we are seeing in our own business, because the majority of our business I would say is working with Asian buyers and investors coming from overseas, is that there is a lot of ease up on the visa coming to visit in the United States and as well as the rise of the middle class wanting to establish their American dream..." In 2013, Chinese buyers made two significant commercial building deals in Manhattan. Shanghai-based Fosun International paid $725 million for One Chase Manhattan Plaza in Midtown Manhattan. (SOUNDBITE) (English) EILEEN HSU, DOUGLAS ELLIMAN REAL ESTATE, SAYING: "In our own business we're seeing almost a 50 percent of an increase compared to five years ago. I mean Chinese is a culture that we love to have tangible assets and real estate being one of them. So this is something that's not just in New York. We just like to buy real estate." The current hot commodity for Chinese buyers in the Big Apple is Central Park's One57. Here, they can spend $18.85 million for a three-bedroom or $55 million for an apartment taking up the entire 81st floor. The building comes with all of the amenities of a five-star hotel.