Chinese property investors have set their sights on transforming commercial and residential areas abroad, especially in the United States.
(FREDERIC J. BROWN/AFP/Getty Images)
Chinese property developers have famously transformed their country's towns and villages into sprawling metropolises. But over the past few years, they've taken their craft and applied it overseas as well, reshaping the cities of the West. The Chinese investment boom has proved to be one of the most important events for Western real estate markets in recent memory. In some ways it is also one of the most unexpected.
According to conventional wisdom, more developed countries tend to invest in their faster-growing, less-developed peers, not the other way around. Chinese investors, however, have forgone the potential of the real estate market at home to pump money into slower, more stable markets abroad, especially the United States. But their unusual behavior is motivated by a particular set of circumstances -- one that may not last much longer....