Demand Strong for Luxury Homes in China

They want big houses — several of them — with ornate exteriors, situated on golf courses, designed by golf professionals. Sound like a typical wealthy American home buyer?

Nope. It’s their affluent counterparts in China, who are plowing their rapidly accumulating wealth into Western-style mansions. “We assumed they would want houses with an Eastern influence,” says Dave Jenkins, a community design director, at Sater Companies, a small Florida firm, which recently started designing luxury homes in China. “We were wrong.”

Hired by a Chinese developer of a large luxury community South of Shanghai, Sater Companies has designed a handful of “villas” with a Mediterranean influence. These houses, which will cost up to $1.5 million, typically include sleeping quarters for a live-in maid, a main kitchen, and a separate “work kitchen,’’ situated away from the main living area because the cooking tends to be smoky.


Rendering courtesy of Sater Design Collection, Inc.

Mr. Jenkins says the new development will include hotels, golf courses and homes for about 20,000 people, stretching over 10 square miles, when it’s completed. “It’s like Vegas, Monte Carlo and Taos, all rolled into one,” he says.

Many U.S. real estate companies have shied away from the Chinese market because of legal entanglements and government restrictions on foreign developers. But when considering that prices of luxury homes in China rose 13.5% in 2007, according to Chinese government statistics, U.S. builders may find China too tempting to pass up, if business at home stays slow.
Article by: Michael Corkery – Wall Street Journal


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