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Hawaii’s New Foreign Real Estate Buyers


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Wealthy Koreans and Chinese from three locations join Japanese and Canadian buyers in the local market


Honolulu is one of the top 10 real estate markets in the country for international buyers.

Maybe you’re not surprised, but, according to Inman News, a prominent national source of real estate intelligence, 3.6 percent of all homes sold on Oahu between May 2011 and January 2012 went to buyers with a foreign tax bill address. That’s roughly twice the national average.

On the one hand, this factoid seems to confirm the obvious. Resort towns have always gotten the biggest slice of the international market, which is comprised mostly of affluent people seeking second homes. In that sense, high-end communities like Kahala, Wailea and Hualalai look like the quintessential market for these wealthy foreigners. But if you look closely at the numbers, the story becomes more complicated.

Bigger Picture

That’s because Hawaii differs from other U.S. markets in important ways. First, Hawaii real estate doesn’t offer the bargains international investors can find elsewhere. According to the Inman report, we don’t have the high vacancy or foreclosure rates that have depressed prices in Phoenix, Las Vegas and Florida. For example, in 2010, Cape Coral-Fort Myers, Fla., one of the top 10 markets for international buyers, had a vacancy rate of 37 percent, the highest in the country. The national figure is about 13 percent. In Hawaii, the vacancy rate is barely more than 8 percent.

That same divergence is reflected in the low number of foreclosure sales in the Islands. In Miami, during the fourth quarter of 2011, foreclosure sales accounted for 24 percent of all residential sales. In Phoenix, it was 39 percent. In Las Vegas, the country’s distressed property capital, an amazing 58.7 percent of all homes sold were foreclosures. In contrast, just 6.1 percent of Honolulu sales were foreclosures. The comparative health of Hawaii’s real estate market hasn’t yielded bargain-basement prices, so it’s not surprising that most foreign buyers have looked elsewhere.

Home Front

The biggest difference with the Hawaii market may simply be the mix of foreign buyers. Across the country, Canadians make up 23 percent of all international buyers, followed by the English and other Europeans. In Florida, which has six of the top 10 markets for foreign buyers, that trend is even more pronounced, with Canadians comprising more than 70 percent of the international market. In Hawaii, of course, Asian buyers predominate. According to the National Association of Realtors (NAR), Japan-based buyers still account for more than 58 percent of all international sales in Hawaii. Canadians are also an important market, but they make up just over 16 percent of foreign buyers. The next largest group is the fabled Chinese, comprising nearly 6 percent of all international sales.

This is a familiar landscape to Hawaii Realtors who specialize in foreign buyers. But there are subtle changes obscured in that data. Those changes aren’t lost on Patricia Choi of Choi International, Hawaii Business’s Top Realtor for three out of the past five years, largely due to international sales.

“Now, we have two or three new sets of buyers,” Choi says. “The first is the Koreans. They don’t have to have a visa anymore, and they can stay up to 90 days. Because of that, we have more people from Korea who are looking to buy vacation homes here. And they come in all ages, from young ones who’ve been very successful to older retirees.

“The second group is the Chinese – and actually you have three groups of those. You have the ones from mainland China, those from Taiwan and those from Hong Kong.”

It’s the group from mainland China that has some Realtors on the edge of their seats. After all, the country’s booming economy has produced hundreds of thousands of new millionaires, and, according to Juwai.com, a popular Chinese real estate portal, as many as 85 percent of them would like to immigrate to the U.S. or send their children to school here. That’s why smart Realtors like Choi see so much potential in the China market. Although Choi says that 60 percent to 70 percent of her business last year was from Japan, she’s focusing more and more attention on China.

“I’ll be leaving on a flight to China next week,” she says. “This is my third year in a row that I’m going to China.” She’s also going to Seoul this year instead of Tokyo.

Understanding foreign buyers isn’t just important for Honolulu Realtors; foreign buyers also play an important, albeit diminished, role in the market for high-end property on the Neighbor Islands. “We currently have about 300 members (owners),” says Rob Kildow, principal broker and director of sales for Hualalai Realty, which handles sales for the Hualalai Resort on Hawaii Island. “It looks like about 3.5 percent of our members are Japan-based. We also have members from Australia, Canada, Holland, Hong Kong, Korea and Singapore; but everybody is less than 1 percent except the Japan contingent.” Overall, though, he estimates nearly 20 percent of his sales are to foreign buyers. Given the amount of international money coming in, Kildow, like Choi, is keenly aware of what drives foreign buyers.

“Without getting too complicated,” he says, “a lot of it has to do with currency valuations. With the weak dollar, that’s made us more attractive to international buyers.” Probably the best example is the yuan, which is up 34 percent against the dollar over the past three years. That amounts to a 34 percent discount on U.S. real estate for Chinese buyers. That same scenario is playing out with the yen, the Korean won and the Canadian dollar.

“Lift is also an important part if it,” Kildow says. “Now, for example, there’s a once- or twice-a-week flight out of Hong Kong. There was an almost immediate jump in buyers with that. That works whenever you get more lift; you always get a pick-up in interest from those areas. People are creatures of convenience.”
Probably the most important issue for foreign buyers is the difficulty in obtaining financing. Banks simply don’t want to offer a typical mortgage to foreign nationals, which means these transactions often involve large quantities of cash. This is particularly troubling for Chinese buyers, who, because of tight currency regulations, often have difficulty getting money out of China.

“You can get money out of Hong Kong or Taiwan,” says Pat Choi, “But out of mainland China, you’re restricted to something like $50,000 per person per year.”
This is a serious impediment to buying real estate, she notes. “Some are able to get 50 percent loans. And they have big families. But most of the people doing this are pretty affluent; they’re people who have a lot of cash saved up.”

According to Choi, if young Realtors want to get into the international market, they have to understand all these issues. “They need to educate themselves,” she says. “They need to go to the NAR meetings and be active in the international section.” Maybe most important, they need to understand the needs of the international buyer. Choi recommends traveling to foreign countries and learning what potential buyers are like in their own environment.

She offers one more piece of wisdom: “This doesn’t happen overnight. It takes time.”

Top 10 U.S. Markets for Foreign Buyers

Foreign buyers as a percentage of all buyers in each market

Lakeland-Winter Haven, Fla. 9.2%
Cape Coral-Fort Myers, Fla. 8.5%
Orlando-Kissimmee-Sanford, Fla. 6.9%
North Point-Bradenton-Sarasota, Fla. 6.5%
Miami-Fort Lauderdale-Pompano Beach, Fla. 5.3%
Phoenix-Mesa-Glendale, Ariz. 4.2%
New York County, N.Y. (Manhattan) 3.7%
Honolulu 3.6%
Tampa-St. Petersburg-Clearwater, Fla. 2.9%
Las Vegas-Paradise, Nev. 2.8%

Photo: Thinkstock

Source: Inman News, reporting on all homes sold between May 2011 and January 2012.

Photo: Thinkstock

Launch a Business, Get a Green Card

One way Chinese real estate buyers are getting around visa rules and currency restrictions is by investing in U.S. businesses. According to the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Service, over the past four years there’s been a 35 percent up-tick in EB-5 applications, a program that awards permanent resident status to foreigners who invest at least $500,000 in new U.S. business ventures that create a minimum of 10 jobs. Last year, 78 percent of all applicants for the program were Chinese nationals.

Hawaii Business

Top US & Foreign Buyers of Property in Hawaii 美国夏威夷房地产物业的外国买家报告




New-Home Sales Rebound in January

WASHINGTON, Feb. 26 – Sales of newly built, single-family homes rose 9.6 percent to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 468,000 units in January from an upwardly revised pace of 427,000 units in the previous month, according to data released today by the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development and the U.S. Census Bureau. This is the strongest sales pace since July of 2008.

“The fact that the cold weather that hit much of the country didn’t stop home buyers from going out and purchasing a piece of the American dream is a great sign,” said Kevin Kelly, chairman of the National Association of Home Builders (NAHB) and a home builder from Wilmington, Del. “However, the very low supply of new homes on the market and the continued concern of available buildable lots still have builders cautious about getting ahead of themselves.”

“We saw a weaker sales number in December 2013 than was previously trending, and I think much of January’s increase is due to sales catching up with pent up demand,” said NAHB Chief Economist David Crowe. “Still, there is little doubt that historically low interest rates, affordable home prices and a healing economy are bringing buyers back into the marketplace.”

Regionally, new-home sales were generally strong with three of the four regions posting large gains. The South, the West and the Northeast showed improvement, with respective increases of 10.4 percent, 11.0 percent and 73.7 percent. New-home sales in the Midwest fell by 17.2 percent.

The inventory of new homes for sale remained steady at 184,000 units in January, which is a 4.7-month supply at the current sales pace.

Shanghai developer to build big in LA

After unveiling its $2 billion investment plan in London last month, Shanghai-based Greenland Group announced new details of its $1 billion Metropolis Los Angeles project on Feb 14.

The proposed Metropolis Los Angeles project is expected to be one of the largest mixed-use developments on the West Coast and to reshape the Downtown Los Angeles urban landscape. Metropolis is the Greenland Group’s first investment in the US.

Phase one of Metropolis is expected to include the development of a four-star luxury hotel and a residential tower with units ranging from studios to two bedrooms. The hotel will have 19 floors with 350 rooms, and the residential tower will be 38 stories high. Construction is slated to start early this year and be completed by mid 2016.

“Founded in Shanghai 22 years ago, Greenland Group has since expanded to more than 80 cities across China and is known as a leading developer of high-quality, high-rise residential and commercial buildings and urban complexes,” said Zhang Yuliang, chairman and president of Greenland Group.

“International expansion — particularly in the US market — is a strategic priority for us,” Zhang added. “We are making significant investments in the US and as one of the iconic cities of the world, Los Angeles is an important place for us to be.”

“We are excited to welcome the Greenland Group to Los Angeles,” said Mayor Eric Garcetti. “This billion dollar investment will not only bolster Downtown Los Angeles’ economy by creating hundreds of jobs and generating on-going tax revenue, but it will bring the kind of world-class amenities that will enhance the appeal of our city center nationally and internationally.”

Los Angeles Councilmember Jose Huizar said, “The revitalization and economic resurgence of Downtown Los Angeles over the last decade has really put it on the map as a dynamic urban center — the kind that every great city should have. The message is clear, Downtown LA is open for business and that is attracting prestigious international companies, such as Greenland Group, to make a long-term financial commitment in Downtown LA and be a part of this momentum. We welcome Greenland Group’s investment and look forward to this project’s contribution to the success of Downtown for years to come.”

For phase one of the development, Tishman Construction is providing program and construction management services. Gensler, a leading design firm, will serve as the architect. Turner Construction will be the general contractor and SPAN Architecture will be the interior designer. Rider Levett Bucknall will provide surveying services.

Located on Francisco Street between 8th and 9th Streets, the property is the largest undeveloped site in Downtown LA’s central business district and is situated near popular arts and entertainment, retail and dining establishments such as LA LIVE, FIGat7th, Bunker Hill, the Walt Disney Concert Hall, the Museum of Contemporary Art and the soon-to-be-opened Broad Museum.

Downtown Los Angeles has experienced an unprecedented renaissance in the last 15 years and is considered to be the place to live, work and play. It is home to a growing residential population of more than 53,000 who are seeking an active, urban lifestyle and more than half a million office workers.

“We believe Los Angeles’ location as a gateway between Asia and North America is ideal in attracting an international clientele who are seeking investment opportunities and an exciting lifestyle near arts and entertainment, sports and fine dining,” said Zhang.

“Greenland Group has strong confidence in the market demand for this project,” Zhang added. “Los Angeles is the second largest city in the United States with the largest seaport and industrial center on the West Coast. It has a stable economy and a large population base with one of the largest concentrations of international immigrants.”

In 2013, Greenland Group was ranked 359th on the Fortune Global 500, 55th among the Top 500 Chinese companies and number one among Chinese real estate enterprises. The company has built or is currently building 23 skyscrapers, with four of its buildings ranked among the 10 tallest in the world.

China has the youngest billionaires

China may not have the most billionaires, but it does have the youngest.

According to a report from Wealth-X and UBS, China’s 157 billionaires have an average age of 53 years old. That’s nine years younger than the global average.

China has the second-highest number of billionaires in the world after the U.S., which has 515. And China has added 10 new billionaires over the past year.

Still, China’s billionaires have come under fire recently for their wealth and power. The government recently charged one of its top billionaires, venture capitalist and human rights supporter Wang Gongquan, with “assembling a crowd to disrupt order.”

Chinese-American entrepreneur and blogger Charles Xue was arrested in August, and last year Xu Ming, once the country’s eighth richest man, was arrested and charged with fraud.


One study found that 17 percent of the billionaires on the Hurun Rich List—China’s version of the Forbes list—wind up in court or prison.

By CNBC’s Robert Frank. Follow him on Twitter@robtfrank








美 国房子的中间价目前在20万美元左右。前面说过,东西两头贵,所以美国中间大部分地方的房价,都不到20万美元。我今年到过美国的两个中部城市,一个是 底特律,一个是堪萨斯城,就人口而言,这两个城市在美国排在10-50位之间,算是二线城市。但是人口100万都不到,中国大一点的县城都比它大。房价也 便宜,一个楼都只要10几万,甚至不到10万,20万出头都是很好的房子了。


这 里稍微说一句题外话,美国之所以形成这样的城市格局,说到底是自由经济社会体中,资源自由配置的结果。不想我们,一个大项目建在哪里,要发改委说了算。 美国都是大企业主导,企业觉得这个地方低价便宜、交通便利,就来这里设厂,可能一下子能涌进1-2万人口,城市便慢慢发展起来。



美 国是一个大企业主导的国家,每个城市大同小异。买东西,都去沃尔玛;吃饭,都去subway;买家电,都去Bestbuy;买衣服,都去GAP;买鞋子, 都去Nike……这些大企业几乎垄断了美国人所有的日常消费,是个无处不在的巨无霸,因此自然也要在每个地方聘用当地的员工。再加上电信、银行, 小城市里的美国人有很大比例都是在这些大企业工作,收入也都很均衡,大约在3-4万一年,这就构成了美国所谓的中产阶级。


一 个群体则在美国有更大的代表性。他们都处于30岁左右的年纪,还没有小孩。哪里找到好工作就去哪。洛杉矶有工作就来洛杉矶,呆了几年,在芝加哥有更好的 工作了,就去芝加哥。以前看过《时代》上的一篇文章,把这群人叫做Odyssey,就是希腊史诗中的《奥德赛》,到处晃荡的意思。这个在美国有很大的普遍 性,不属于洛杉矶专有的现象。这些人也不一定会在洛杉矶买房子。


当 然也有一些人,30岁左右,结婚了,那就会考虑在洛杉矶稳定下来买房子。如果夫妻俩有10万一年的收入,那么买个50-100万的房子,压力还是有,万一 失业了怎么办?美国公司说裁员就裁员。但是比起在北京上海同样10万人民币的收入,现在基本上都是200万以上的房子,压力要小得很多。



公 立学校按学区招生,所以美国人为了小孩的教育,也买学区房。中国的一些大城市,这里是一个高档小区,背后可能就是城中村,大家都是读一个学校。美国 的小区好坏之分则更明显,你买得起这里的房子,才可能住在这个小区里。那租房子呢?好的小区基本上都在郊区,都是有钱人,不会把自己的房子租出去。往往倒 是市区,人多混杂的地方,才会有人把自己房子租出去。反差最明显的例子就是旧金山所在的湾区,湾区西边硅谷一带相对而言都是好的区,房价贵。而湾区的东 边,黑人多,乱了不少,即便房价便宜了不少,也很少有人愿意搬过去。



前 面有同学问,我的小孩要是没有户口能不能就近读书?美国没有户口这个概念,美国人看你是不是本地人就看你有没有在本地区纳税。而中小学阶段更是类似中国的 义务教育,只要学校没有招满,都可以就读书。一些中国的访问学者,在这里呆一年,我看就有不少把孩子从国内接过来,没在美国交一分钱的税,隔壁的美国小学 照样接收你入学。



第 一,就是美国的教育资源比较均衡,中国的农村小学和城里的小学,无论软件还是硬件,都相差甚远。所以很多农村里稍微有钱的就想搬到县城,让孩子读个好学 校。但是美国的中小学都是按照同一个标准建立的,无论是在设施还是在师资配备上基本没差。即便有差距,但是绝对不会中国那么大。

第 二,美国人更注重个性化教育。我们中国人说这个小学好,这个中学好,但是如果仔细想想,它究竟是好在哪里?答案无非是英语教育很强,奥数很强,有钢琴特色 班,升学率高之类。但是如果再仔细想想,我们会什么要学英语、奥数和钢琴?因为别人的孩子也在这样学,我的孩子也要这样学。但是对一般美国人而言,这些都 是次要的,重要的是发掘孩子的潜能,培养他的个性。成绩只有维持在一定的水平能够考上一定档次的学校就可以了。








相 比房价,教育对美国人来说是一件更可怕的事情。大家都知道,美国最好的学校哈佛、耶鲁、普林斯顿等8所常青藤大学,此外,还有一些学校不是常青藤,但是完 全是一个档次的,比如斯坦福、芝加哥、麻省理工、加州理工。这些学校加起来总共20个,都是私立的。所以要评判美国学校档次,排名前20的算一个档次, 相当于我们的北大清华。但是我们13亿人口才北大、清华两所学校,美国3亿人口就有20所好大学。所以进这些学校要比我们容易好几十倍。美国人稍微能读点 书的,稍微有点钱的,都是想挤进这20个学校。这20个学校四年下来基本上都要20万美金,一般人都负担不起。

这 20个学校之后是州立学校,每个州1-2所。构成了美国大学20-100名的学校。但是加州例外,加州有10所,而且每所排名都不错。大家都熟悉加州伯克 利,在我们看来都是大牛校。但是在加州,只要稍微能读书的,基本上都能考进去——这是一个伯克利的哥们跟我说的。其实想想也不奇怪,前面已经有20 所大学了。州立学校对本州的学生便宜点,像加州学生进加州系统的这10所大学,一年学费大概7000-8000。


很 多中国人觉得美国人独立,读书不花家里的钱。这个也不全都是这样的,完全看你家里的经济条件。有些人家里有钱,父母就会给,甚至啃老的也不少。这几年,美 国人都在反思年轻人的生存能力是不是下降了,因为学历越来越高,好的工作不好找,差的工作又不想干,没钱,越来越多的年轻人是跟父母住在一起的。







* 355毫升罐装可乐,4元/12罐
* 橙汁,3-5元/2升
* 鸡蛋,2元/12个
* 鸡,3-5元/只
* 烤鸡,5-8元/只
* 猪肉,2-3元/斤
* 牛肉,2-4元/斤
* gala小苹果,1元/斤
* 香蕉,8毛/斤
* 葡萄,1-2元/斤
* 卷心菜,3-5毛/斤(蔬菜水果价格随季节小幅波动)
* 土豆,2-3元/10斤
* 黄瓜,0.5-1元/根
* 食用油,4-6元/升
* 西红柿,1-2元/斤
* 曲奇饼干,2-3元/个
* 小蛋糕、面包,<1元/个
* 20厘米直径的Cheese蛋糕,3-5元/块
* 万宝路香烟,4-8元/包
* 啤酒,1-2元/小瓶(酒吧价格5-6元)
* 星巴克咖啡,2-4元/杯
* 固定电话+无线网络,40元/月
* 手机,40-100元/月(包月)
* 煤气,10-20块/月(冬季近20元)
* 电费(含垃圾清理、扫街费),90元/月
* 高露洁牙膏,2-3元/支
* 海飞丝洗发水,6-7元/瓶(750毫升)
* 毛巾,5-7元/条
* 保鲜膜、锡箔纸,2-3元/卷
* 笔记本电脑,500-2000元/台
* 打印纸,5-6元/500张
* 圆珠笔,1-2元/10支
* 一般办公桌/电脑桌,100-300元/个
* Levis牛仔裤 40-80元/条
* GAP T恤,15-30元/件
* GAP 外套,30-60元/件
* Guess,CK的衬衫,裤子,60-120元/件
* Nike,Adidas鞋子、运动服、10-120元/件
* Converse帆布鞋,30-50元/双
* Polo羊毛衫,30-60元/件
* Armani男士夹克,100-300元/件
* 西装,400-2000元/套
* Coach的背包,200-400元/个
* UGG的棉鞋,120元/双
* 肯德基/麦当劳套餐(汉堡+薯条+可乐),5-8元/套
* 一般的餐厅,10-20元/人


美 国的蔬菜水果相对要比鸡肉猪肉贵,因为蔬菜水果有季节性,无法按需大规模生产;再一个原因,就是有保鲜期。所以美国的沃尔玛很少卖蔬菜水果,因为无法实现 全国物流调配。蔬菜水果一般都在一些地方性的超市卖。而且美国还有一个特色就是有farmer’s market。就像中国的赶集,都是定期定点的,农民拉着新鲜的蔬菜水果到市中心来卖,很受美国人欢迎。新鲜而且品种多,当然价格也比超市里面的高。这些 农民就是看到了大型零售商做不到的市场。





美 国人认为美国税很重,这也是美国人骂美国government的主要原因之一。那么美国个人一般要交多少税呢?这实在是一个不好回答的问题。主要原因在于 美国有一个返税制度。老百姓每年都要报税,向government说明自己一年收入多少,该交多少税,已经交了多少税,然后government根据每个 人的不同情况,返回一部分税款。

美 国的法律是一个冗长的体系。就拿个人所得税这一块为例,government一开始制定一个法律,规定收入的百分之几应该交税。结果张三说,我收入是跟邻 居王五一样,但是王五一个人生活,我有一家5口人要养,我花得比王五多,你要我跟王五交一样的税,显然是不合理的。想想是有道理的,好,议会开会,讨论半 天,制定一个法案,规定家里有小孩的返税一部分。过了20年,王五发现不对了。因为张三家的小孩长大了赚钱了,自己小孩倒是到处要花钱,负担明显比张三重 了。怎么办,议会再出一个法案解决这个问题。

所 以长期下来,考虑到个人和家庭的方方面面,形成了一个冗长的法律体系。到底要交多少税,能够返回多少税,普通人一般都搞不清。如果你都搞清了,你就是专家 了。所以一般人报税,都是去找专门的会计师。他们熟悉法律,几分钟就帮你搞定,而且还会想方设法帮你多返税。所以会计师收入为什么高,还是那个工资法则, 有技术含量的活,别人做不了,收入在美国自然会高出一截。一个客户十几分钟搞定,收你几十甚至上百元。在每年的报税季节能够狠狠赚一笔。



除 了个人所得税,美国还有一个消费税。你买任何东西,都要交消费税,每个州税率都不相同。比如拉斯维加斯所在的沙漠地带的内达华州的消费税在7%左 右,好像是美国最低,你买100块的东西要付107块钱。而隔壁的加州则为10%,得付110元。金融危机以来,很多州都调高了消费税,调高1个百分点 government消费税的收入就能增加10%还多,这是一个十分可观的数目。当然,每调高一次,美国老百姓就骂一次,毕竟是在你身上拔羊毛。

除 了这个人所得税和消费税,个人赋税还有一块大头就是物业税。物业税也是根据地区和具体住房条件不同而不同。同样有冗长的法律对住房的用途和档次就行分类, 不同州的税率不一样,豪宅物业税会高,一般的住宅大概在1-2%左右的水平,2007年美国全国平均物业税率为1.38%。前面提到过的,你在曼哈顿有 100万的一套100平米房子,每个月大概要交1000多元的税。


当 然,曼哈顿的公寓在美国是特例。因为除了曼哈顿,美国人主要都是独立房,价格也便宜。一套50万的房子,每个月大概交500-1000元的物业税。 而租金的话就看地段了。如果在洛杉矶有这样一栋楼,全部用来放租的话,隔个4-5个房间是没有问题,一个月能收2000-4000元的样子。当然,也是不 好赚钱的,要具体看买卖了。


美 国的税是重的。算上企业的税转嫁到个人头上的那部分在内,美国人收入的几乎一半是用来交了各种税费。羊毛都是出在羊身上,美国的高福利都是建立在赋税上 面。最简单的例子,你孩子读书的费用,你的养老金都是来自你交给国家的钱上。但是国家还是通过冗长的法律体系来尽量保证每个纳税人的纳税和回报成比例。


美 国几乎每个人都有车,每年到DMV(相当于我们的车管所)去登记一下,几十块钱;每两年做一次尾气排放测试,也是几十块钱。此外没有政府方面其它的费用。 考驾照,也是几十块钱,无需任何强制的培训,只要觉得自己会开了就可以去考。另外就是保险,就看你自己了,一年500-1000的车险都在正常的范围内。



那 么维持这些基础设施的的钱从哪里来?当然羊毛出在羊身上,收了你那么多的税,很大一部分用在基础设施里。虽然一辆车一年government只 收几十块,但是1亿辆车就有几十亿。而且美国的DMV(车管所)也不是什么牛逼的单位,员工平均收入也在3-5万的普通人群范围内。我所在地区的每个 DMV门口挂了一快牌子,显示着DMV收费的去处,其中行政支出大概占了10%,大部分还是投入基础设施建设中。

航 空公司也是如此,就算油费是全世界一个价,但是用的是美国的人员。所以要维持低价的飞机票价格,只有在成本上节省了。空姐大部分都是中老年妇女。除了简单 喝的饮料,不给其它吃的,要吃的话自己买,美国飞机上的空姐经常推着小推车问你这个要吗那个要吗,很像中国火车上的列车服务员。我碰到过几次连耳塞都不给 的,要看电影自己出钱买耳塞。

低 价的费用背后就是竞争,美国有10多家主要的航空公司。government的角色就是不让你垄断或者产生垄断联盟。竞争一上来,价格就低了。 而同时,价格低能够让更多的人来坐飞机,资源才能流动起来,社会效益就产生了。美国government在管治一个行业的时候基本上都是考虑两个因素:第 一,行业整体是不是发展了?第二,消费者是不是有更多的选择,更好的产品和服务?




其 次,美国西南地区,内华达、亚利桑那和新墨西哥州,大部分都是荒漠地带。西部其它的一些州,像犹他、科罗拉多西部、蒙大拿、怀俄明,很大一块是山地。那里 除了部分地区有一些矿物和木材资源,或者适合搞一些旱地农业及畜牧业,居住环境也是不太理想的。这一块面积加起来(美国西部11个州,除了靠太平洋的加 州、俄勒冈州和华盛顿州以外的8个州)达220万平方公里,略少于西藏和内蒙古的面积总和(230万平方公里)。这么一大块地的人口总数却只有2100多 万,与内蒙古相当。其中一半人口集中在凤凰城、丹佛、盐湖城、拉斯维加斯的四个大城市及其附近。

不 难发现,美国广阔的西部地区,其实跟中国的西部也有几分类似。气候干燥,缺乏水资源。像拉斯维加斯就是建立在沙漠中的城市;实在生存不下去了,只好开赌 场。不过这一大片地区有着大量的国家公园,像科罗拉多大峡谷、黄石公园都在这个区域内。美国人大概因为没什么历史,没有什么太多的名胜古迹,因此这些国家 公园成为美国人旅游的首选。旅游业是这些地区很大的一笔收入。单单黄石公园一年的游客数量跟中国入藏游客相当。

那 么美国哪些地区适合居住?或者说美国人住在哪里?统计数据告诉我们,美国人口最多的四大州为加州、德州、纽约州和佛罗里达州。这四个州人口总共大约1 亿。也就是说三分之一的美国人生活在这四个州。如果再深入分析一下,就会发现这些地区的人口其实十分集中。纽约州大约2000万人口,其中1300万是生 活在纽约市及其周边的八个县当中(不包括邻近的新泽西等州)。加州70%人口集中在北加州的湾区和南加州的洛杉矶—-圣地亚哥一线。德州的2/3人口 分布在休斯敦、达拉斯、圣安东尼奥和奥斯丁四大城市圈。佛罗里达30%的人口住在迈阿密。

这 里顺便附带说说美国的土地制度。美国从政府到个人都可以拥有土地。比如国家公园,就是联邦政府拥有的土地,州公园(State park)就是州政府拥有的土地。这些公园无论是山区还是沙漠,都是政府所有。而政府一般会把路修通,对公众开放。有些土地是丘陵、森林、荒漠,没有使用 价值,连观光价值都没有,政府也会把这些地圈起来,算作”国有土地”。所以像犹他、内华达这样”穷山恶水”的州,70%以上的土地都为政府所有,这样的地 就叫做公共土地(public land)。


对 大部分中国人而言,读书和工作是比较可行的定居美国的两条道路。80年代、90年代来美国读书的,几乎是清一色的理工专业。因为那个时候中国人相对比较 穷,只有靠美国大学的全额奖学金才能过来读书。而美国大学里面,往往只有理工专业才会有充裕的资金招研究生。而且招的几乎都是博士。


有 了工作签证,如果有人打算长久呆在美国的话,就可以考虑申请绿卡了。绿卡也是由公司帮你申请。所以你必须老老实实呆在公司,不能给老板发脾气说不干了, 否则工作签证以及绿卡申请都会失效。所以对中国人而言,进大公司是理想的选择,大公司如果不裁员,基本上不会有不太开心的事情。而一些小公司,帮你申请了 工作签证或者绿卡,就让你卖力干活,还压低工资,你有苦也说不出。不过就我个人的感受而言,美国人公司相对而言都是比较好一些;有些过分的老板往往是华人 或者亚洲人。

申 请绿卡有排期,就是申请的人多,排队等。但是每个国家都不一样。发达国家很快就可以拿到。需要等待时间最长的就是中国、印度、墨西哥这几个难兄难弟。 911之后美国收紧移民政策,大概中国人要4-5年才能等到。所以现在从你来美国读书,到工作签证,再到拿到绿卡,将近要10年。






洛 杉矶是块状结构。每个区定位不同,有一些好区,比如好莱坞、比佛利、靠海的santa monica,房价动不动就是上百万,几百万几千万也不少见。Pasadena是白人聚居的区,环境要好很多,房价大概就接近了100万。地段更好的 Hollywood, santa monica几个区,同样100万左右的房子,面积就要小很多,院子也没那么大。

总 体而言,在洛杉矶买房要比在美国的二线城市贵很多,但是选择余地同样还是大很多。如果是个年轻人,您首先可以买公寓,美国人叫condo,相当于中国的商 品房。以洛杉矶市中心金融区为例,一个比较新的公寓楼售价30-40万美元,面积在70-150平米不等。对照美国人均4-5万的收入,这个价格其实算高 了,但是对照中国的房价收入比,要便宜很多。如果要成家买房,美国人一般都是买house,也就是带院子的独立小楼。


美 国很多年轻人的确是没有房子。但是他们没有房子不是因为买不起房子,而是因为他们不想买房子。如果他们存心想买,按照我上面说的如果夫妻俩有10万一年的 薪水,这个是平均水平,80%的美国人收入在这个范围内,按照这个收入要在洛杉矶买个50-100万的房子,是在可承受范围之内。而我们在北京上海,夫妻 俩的收入也算10万人民币,现在基本上都是200万以上了,压力不是大一点点!


而 对于美国人而言,房价和生活基本上体现了良性循环。你只要好好工作,即便在洛杉矶这样的大城市,还是能够买得起房子,生活是有未来的。另一方面,正是因为 房子的压力在可承受范围之内,所以每个人才会有心思去干自己喜欢干的事情,干好自己喜欢干的事情,这样社会才会有进步。








那 么曼哈顿居民的收入是多少?美国官方数据说,曼哈顿人均收入10万一年,号称美国首富区。我前面说了,在美国大部分地区,10万一年算高薪了,微软、 Google给工程师才这个价。但是注意,曼哈顿因为富人太有钱了,因此普通居民也就”被平均”了,其实在曼哈顿,3-5万也是普通人的工资。很多行业, 比如新闻、比如广告、甚至于金融行业底层非核心的岗位,也就是3-5万的收入。要在曼哈顿买房,压力在美国毫无疑问是最大的。更何况,曼哈顿的消费要比美 国其他地方稍微高一些。

当 然,普通人即便在曼哈顿上班,也不会在曼哈顿买房。房价贵是一方面,另外一个原因就是,很多高楼挤在一起,生活太压抑了。所以,很多人跑到岛外的其它区或 者新泽西买房。出了曼哈顿,房价会立即便宜很多。同样档次的公寓楼在曼哈顿要100万,隔了一条河的布鲁克林价格可以差一半,50-60万就能拿下。如果 还是觉得贵,你可以去皇后区,价格还可以便宜一二十万。同时,纽约的地铁十分发达,上下班也十分方便。

所 以我们这里可以分析一下,纽约跟北京比,面积、人口都差不多。纽约还是给普通老百姓选择的余地,曼哈顿的豪宅你尽管去贵,但是我还是能够用相当于10年薪 水的价格在合理地段的买到100平米的房子。而在北京,就是普通居民也有5万人民币的年收入,现在想花50万买个100平米的房子基本上快到天津了吧。



真 正让拉斯维加斯发家的有两件大事。一是上个世纪30年代,美国政府在拉斯维加斯的边上建了胡佛大坝,形成了一个人口湖,这为城市发展提供了大量的水资源; 同时胡佛大坝吸引了不少游客,推动了旅游业的发展。第二个是赌博业在内华达州的合法化。很多赌徒开始跑到山高皇帝远的拉斯维加斯去赌钱。所以拉斯维加斯在 1940—-1950年间开始了第一轮的发展。1900年的时候拉斯维加斯的居民只有25个人,到了1960年,拉斯维加斯的居民达到了6万多 人。

在 赌场正规化之后,拉斯维加斯进入了第二轮的发展。现在,市中心拉斯维加斯大道上的一些大酒店,都是在这之后开始建造的。人们去拉斯维加斯玩,基本上就是 逛这条大道,也不是很长。大道两边的酒店上面是客房,下面都是赌场。此外还有一些吃饭、洗澡等服务行业。另外一个就是演出。脱衣舞依旧是有的,但是拉斯维 加斯估计考虑到长远发展,这些年一直在提升整体的文化层次,所以现在一些大酒店基本上都是正规的秀,不少都是挺有文化的东西,门票都要几十元,甚至上百元 美金。脱衣服的场子基本上被挤到小巷子里去了。


除 了旅游和赌博,不得不说拉斯维加斯的房地产。在美国次贷危机爆发之前,维加斯也造了大量房子,相当一部分是酒店式公寓,吸引外地投资客。2001年的时 候,拉斯维加斯房价的中间数在12万美元,然后一路攀升,到了2006年最高点的时候接近30万美元。然后开始掉头,现在中间数跌到13万美元,而且下跌 的趋势还没有停止。拉斯维加斯也是美国这次次贷危机的重灾区。

所 以像拉斯维加斯这样的城市,本身几乎没有资源。走出靠旅游、赌博这样一条发家致富的道路,应该是成功的。但是也应该看到,这些行业,包括房地产,都是建立 在实体经济的基础之上,抗风险性非常弱。经济下滑的时候,人们可以不去旅游,但是吃饭的钱不能省。这就是此次经济危机为什么给拉斯维加斯这样的城市一个沉 重的打击,而沃尔玛却能够在此波危机中,一支独秀,销售额稳步增长的原因。


微 软在西雅图的周边的一个区,自从微软几十年前入驻这个区之后,这个区就迅速发展起来。首先是房价飙升,微软有几万个人在西雅图工作,几万人涌入这个城市, 而且都是高消费群体,自然能够带动当地的经济发展。加上地理位置好——靠海,有炒作的价值,所以比一般的二线城市要高很多。但是本地人也没什么抱怨。 因为自家的房子都是在升值了,尤其在过去的几年。数据显示,西雅图房价的中间数从1989年的22.1万飙到2006年的最高时候的44.7万(17年才 翻番,在中国看来毛毛雨)。但是现在金融危机又给打回去了,中间数跌倒34万。

Keith Tse (S), Realtor®
Lic. #72954 with dower realty inc. | Hawaii Real Estate Solution
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