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REAL ESTATE : Japan’s American Excess Credit Card--Don’t Buy a New Home Without It

Compiled by Michael Flagg, Times staff writer

Japanese shoppers will soon be offered the ultimate in credit cards: A Citicorp credit line of up to $500,000 which they can use to buy U.S. homes through real estate brokerage Grubb & Ellis Co. at a Tokyo department store, no less.

The Japanese have begun investing more heavily in residential real estate in the booming Hawaiian and West Coast markets.

They are already big investors in offices and other commercial buildings.

Japanese customers can view pictures of homes on the seventh floor of the Tokyu Nihonbashi department store and can use the credit cards to put the transaction into escrow without ever leaving Japan, said San Francisco-based Grubb & Ellis.

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