BUSINESS

Zillow to partner with Beijing firm to market U.S. homes abroad

In a deal that underscores a Chinese home-buying spree, real estate website Zillow Inc. said it will partner with a Beijing firm to market U.S. homes in China.

The Seattle company said this week that it has joined forces with real estate website Leju, an affiliate of E-House China Holdings Ltd. The companies plan to launch a co-branded website this summer to offer Zillow's national home listings, data and more in Chinese.

"Brokers and agents with listings on Zillow are now able to reach Chinese home shoppers who are ready to invest in the U.S. market, with no additional cost or effort,” Errol Samuelson, chief industry development officer for Zillow, said in a statement.

GRAPHIC: Southern California's housing recovery

The Wednesday annoucement comes as Chinese citizens pour money into the U.S. housing market.  Many see U.S. real estate as a cheaper and more stable investment as fears over a Chinese property bubble grow amid other political and economic concerns.

Others have sought out cleaner air and good schools for their children.

Chinese buyers bought 12% of all U.S. homes purchased by foreign citizens last year, up from 5% in 2007, according to the National Assn. of Realtors. More than half their home purchases were in California. And more than two-thirds of them paid cash, the trade group said.

In the San Gabriel Valley, a hub for Asian culture for decades, the investment is immense. Overseas money has pushed home prices in many valley neighborhoods above the peaks seen during last decade’s housing bubble.

Leju Chief Executive Geoffrey Yinyu He said the deal with Zillow will give its millions of users “the ability to quickly connect with a local real estate expert who can help them through the home-buying process."

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