An important point for those looking for overseas investment properties: Anyone who wants to invest in Chinese property must be ready to move there. According to [government] regulations, individual foreign buyers need to demonstrate that they have worked in China for at least a year and are buying the residence for self use,” says Anthony Couse, managing director in the Shanghai office of global real estate consultancy Jones Lang LaSalle.
The capitalist elements of its economy make it easy to forget that China is a communist country. Although property ownership is common, in China “ownership” means one has obtained the right to use the land, not own it. “All land is owned by the government,” says Regina Yang, head of research and consultancy in the Shanghai office of global real estate consultancy Knight Frank. Land for residential use is typically leased to property owners for a period of 70 years, Yang says. “After that, whether or not ownership will revert back to the government is uncertain.”