They are looking for space, starting from 350 square meters, and discretion, but not isolation. And the best location possible. Money is not a problem.
These are some of the conditions that the wealthy Chinese businessmen looking into buying a house in the Biscay area have put on the table. They are planning on moving in with their families.
A trusted middleman has contacted Engel & Völkers, the real estate agency in Bilbao, with their requiremetns and they have put together a portfolio of 23 properties in the most exclusive areas in Munguia (“La Bilbaina” residential area), Getxo (Neguri and La Galea) and Laukiz (“Unbe Mendi” residential area).
Chinese millionaires are very easily found in European – style villas with private gardens in the Jing´an and Xuhui districts of Shangai or in the Chaoyang and Xicheng residential areas of Beijing. The very best in this Asian country. However, we might soon see some of those Asian tycoons in the hills surrounding “La Bilbaina” residential area in Munguia, one of the richest areas in Biscay per square meter, or in the Unbe area, in Laukiz. Maybe in Neguri and Las Arenas too. The magnificent mansions overlooking the Ereaga beach in Avenida Basagoiti will not be overlooked either. Or maybe we will find them going for peaceful walks around the quiet colony in La Galea.
The Asian elite are looking for a home thousands of miles away from home. Some might take advantage of the dire state of the Spanish Real Estate and purchase as an investment, but most of them are looking to move in.
A number of wealthy Chinese families have set their sights in Biscay. But not just anywhere. They are looking for the best locations, to fit their healthy bank accounts. This operation is being managed by the international real estate agency Engel & Völkers. Of German origin, the high level firm moved into Bilbao a year ago and deals with customers of enviable life styles.
For the last couple of months they have been working in a project with an Asian middleman that moved to Bilbao some 20 years ago and that is very well known amongst the Chinese community in the Basque Country. July 21st will be the date when this project enters its critical phase. On that date, the appointed middleman (whose identity has been kept a secret for reasons of “confidentiality”), will pick up the bulky documents provided by the team in the Henao office.
The Engel & Völkers Consultants have been combing the most exclusive residential areas in Biscay searching for properties that will seduce Chinese businessmen with high rents that might very well end up moving to Biscay, the same way they have done it in Madrid and Barcelona first.
Companies working managing Chinese industrial businesses confirm the not so well kept secret: there is a lot of money in China and “the will to buy property” in Spain, amongst the upper levels of society, but also the middle.
Engel & Völkers have picked up 23 properties. All very luxurious. Most of them are fitted with swimming pools, very well-kept gardens and even movie theaters. And most importantly, they are hidden from the prying eye.
Potential buyers prefer suburbia rather than big flats in Bilbao. “These people don’t want to be isolated, they´d rather move into a semi-detached house shared with other members of the family so they can be together. Their intention is to move in a location and if possible, have two or three families living in the same residential area”, they assure us.
The middleman will travel to China next month in order to present the portfolio to those interested. And it will be quite a hefty dossier. The information includes all sort of details about the properties, including, of course, the prices.
The less expensive of these properties, not many, begin at 500.000€. Starting there, “there is no limit. Prices go higher, a lot”, as Jose Alvarez and Isabel Elorza put it. The range is very wide. In ”La Bilbaina” residential area, where you can find several houses for sale, some of them boast of having up to seven bedrooms, six bathrooms, separate cooking and dining area with a chimney to meet friends, wine cellar and attached areas with a gym, sauna and squash courts that can reach an asking price of up to 2.3milion euros.
And these are not even the most expensive properties available. Some properties located in the most exclusive areas of Getxo can reach an asking price of up to 5 million euro despite the current economic climate.
Price is not a problem for this type of customers although they are cautious. “They don´t specify a maximum price, but they will only consider buying if the price is fair. They are not the type to throw caution to the wind, no matter how much money in their accounts”.
Chinese businessmen look for big, spacious homes, starting at 350 square meters. They are also really keen on keeping their traditions wherever they go so they look specially for properties with a basement that can be turned into a games room.
Confidence amongst real estate consultants is running high. They assure us that the high level market “has experienced some serious movement” in the last few months even though they are aware that a month (at least) will have to pass before they find out whether the asian potential buyers show any interest for the portfolio offered. If that is the case, the first set of buy – sell agreements might see the light over the summer.
Luis Gomez (El Correo)