Chinese millionaires pick Seattle as No. 2 place in the world to live, survey shows

This year, Seattle surpassed San Francisco as the second place in the world where Chinese millionaires most want to live. But critics say the threat of foreign investors could worsen Seattle’s already exclusive market.

If you could pick anywhere in the world to live, where would it be?

For a lot of Chinese millionaires, the answer is: Seattle.

On a wish list of global destinations, Seattle has surged into the No. 2 spot for well-off folks in China who are hoping to relocate, according to a new report.

Each year, Shanghai-based Hurun Research surveys hundreds of Chinese millionaires who are either thinking of leaving, have already begun the emigration process or have recently made the move. About 12 percent picked Seattle over any other place this year. Los Angeles, the top choice for about 18 percent, is No. 1.

Seattle has been steadily rising up the rankings since debuting as the sixth-most-desired immigration destination in 2014. This year, we knocked San Francisco out of the No. 2 spot.

The survey respondents are affluent — they have an average net worth of about $3 million — but not among China’s superrich. So value is a top priority for them, and that helps explain Seattle’s appeal, says Dean Jones, owner of Realogics Sotheby’s International Realty, who estimates that half of his home sales in select Eastside markets are to buyers from China.

“They believe property appreciation (in Seattle) is in the first few innings of a long run,” he said. While Vancouver and San Francisco are very attractive, they’re also a lot more expensive. In comparison to other West Coast cities, Jones says Seattle is a bargain.

Four of the top five cities are on the West Coast — New York is the exception — and the proximity to China is part of the appeal.

“Seattle has numerous airlines flying direct routes at a fraction of the time and cost of some other gateway markets,” Jones said.

The great majority…

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