chineseIt’s been well-documented how wealthy Chinese have been snatching up midrange and high-end properties in cities like New York and Los Angeles during the last few years, but a recent article points out they have now begun to focus on Chicago real estate.

ChicagoMag delved into this trend recently and noted Chinese have increasingly turned to Chicago as it gains more name recognition in their native country. Also, they have moved on to Chicago because there are fewer deals to be had in the cities they had previously put their focus like Seattle and San Francisco.

In fact, one real estate professional from Chicago said a majority of international buyers they work for now hail from China. Here’s why:

“You are seeing a lot of international buyers shift into more affordable large cities like Chicago because they see trends in the demography, economy, and housing market that are very similar to New York, but prices are around a third of what they are in New York,” said Scott Hagerman of IP Global. “Most of the buyers we advise are from Asia.”

A favorite of these Chinese buyers are Chicago’s downtown condos. The reasons for that is that they are easier to manage from the other side of the world and they appreciate faster than a single-family home

According to a recent study, Chinese spent $22 billion on U.S. residential property during the 12-month period ending in March 2014. That is by far the most of any other international group and is a 19 percent jump from the previous year.

There are several reasons for this surge in interest from Asia buyers. For one, in China individuals are limited to how much property they can own. That means the wealthy need somewhere to put their money and U.S. real estate is seen as a low-risk option and safe place to keep their money. However, it’s not all simply an investment. About 39% of Chinese buyers said they plan to use their new home in the U.S. as their primary residence. Others are buying homes for their children to live while in college here.

In any event, the general consensus is this is a trend that isn’t going away anytime soon, so you may want to get involved. Mandarin lessons, anyone?