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Chinese home buyers driving Thailand's real estate market boom

Chinese investors are pouring record investments in Thailand's real estate market, making the Land of Smiles the third most desired destination for Chinese home buyers after the U.S. and Australia, Nikkei Asian Review reported.

Chinese home buyers invested about $10 billion in condominium units in Thailand since 2015, Nikkei reported, citing industry estimates from Bangkok-based developer Risland. The amount is equivalent to the combined investment from Japanese and Singaporean buyers, the two other top foreign home buyers in Thailand.

Seen by many as speculators, Chinese investors, who are unwelcome in New Zealand, Vancouver, Singapore and Sydney, have found a place in Thailand.

A Chinese home buyer told Nikkei that the slowing China economy has prompted them to invest in properties abroad. In the second quarter, China's GPD growth slowed to 6.7% year over year in the second quarter from a 6.8% expansion in the prior quarter, according to the National Bureau of Statistics' estimates.

Chinese investors are also finding fewer investment vehicles for their cash. Chinese stocks were the world's worst performers between January and July, reported Nikkei. A recent financial scandal where more than $5 billion of investors' money disappeared from a popular people-to-people lending platform also scared investors.

While China's housing market remains robust, Beijing has tightened controls over offshore property investment to stem capital outflows. This made it harder for Chinese investors to buy the more expensive properties in U.S. and Europe, reported Nikkei.

As Wei Jie, a real estate agent in Bangkok, puts it: "As long as China's economic outlook remains dull, our business will only soar."