Global Citizen

X-Border Real Estate – Point. Click. Invest?

China’s millennials are buying overseas properties on their smartphones.

Pay bills, check flight, call Uber … buy international real estate?

For wealthy millennials in China, you can add buying an overseas property to the list of useful things a smartphone can do. Using services like Uoolu, users can open bank accounts in foreign countries and then apply for a mortgages in those markets, with the money moving from the buyer’s bank account directly to the real estate developer. The Wall Street Journal reports that a whopping 70 percent of Chinese millennials, born between 1981 and 1998, own a home, the highest share of respondents from nine countries and regions.

Many Chinese millennials are motivated by China’s tight controls over the amount of capital that is allowed to be moved outside the country, which is currently restricted to $50,000 a year. However, the WSJ reports that these rules are frequently dodged by family members by shifting money to relatives or friends or by moving their funds overseas, beyond the Chinese government’s reach.

Millennial investors are also taking precautions against the depreciation of China’s yuan by purchasing overseas property. By making investments in cross-border real estate, China’s millennials are making long-term investments in properties where their children can later live when they study abroad.

As previously reported in the Global Citizen Index™, a Flywire collaboration, education is a key motivating factor for Chinese students to travel abroad to the U.S. Last year’s X-Border Tuition Edition of the Index found 68 percent of surveyed Chinese students said getting a better education was either the most important, or at least a very important factor, in deciding to study abroad. The Index also found 60 percent of Chinese students said experiencing a new culture was the most or a very important factor for studying abroad.

Medical costs are another motivation for travelers to visit the U.S. The most recent Global Citizen Index™, the X-Border Medical Treatment Edition, found that 58 percent of medical travelers are from Africa or Asia. Because health care in the U.S. is so expensive (with the average patient costs between $35,000 and $50,000), only the wealthiest foreign travelers can afford such expensive care.

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About The Index

The Global Citizen Index™, a Flywire collaboration, focuses on the economic impact of Global Citizens, individuals who typically are experienced international travelers and have the wealth or discretionary income to support the pursuit of personal priorities, including cross-border education, health care and wellness for themselves and their family members, or other experiences outside of their home countries.



The PYMNTS Cross-Border Merchant Friction Index analyzes the key friction points experienced by consumers browsing, shopping and paying for purchases on international eCommerce sites. PYMNTS examined the checkout processes of 266 B2B and B2C eCommerce sites across 12 industries and operating from locations across Europe and the United States to provide a comprehensive overview of their checkout offerings.

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