AREAA’s East Meets West Conference

Article by Sara Mirza
Photo by Yuchen Liao

On November 2, 2015, I attended a conference at the Waldorf Astoria in New York City called AREAA’s East meets West conference. AREAA is an abbreviation of The Asian Real Estate Association of America, which is a “non-profit professional trade organization dedicated to promoting sustainable homeowners opportunities in Asian American communities”. AREAA hosts several conferences in different parts of the United States, and I attended one of these conferences. This particular event lasted a full day, starting at 8:00 a.m. and lasting until 5 p.m. The event included different sessions pertaining to foreign investment in the US luxury Real Estate sector, and specifically in the borough of Manhattan, which contains areas that are considered to be international prime real estate property. Each theme was headed by a group of speakers who are all top-level executives in the luxury market, with a vested interest and emphasis on Asian investments.

I found the event to be very informative regarding the EB-5 Visa, an investor’s visa. The concept was simple: Asian investment in prime real estate is increasing exponentially. There is a push from the New York real estate industry to increase these investments by encouraging foreign entrepreneurs to invest in the EB-5 Immigrant Investor Program. This program stipulates that a green card will be given to a person, their spouse, and all their children who are below the age of 21 if they make a sizable investment within a US based commercial enterprise and that 10 permanent full-time jobs will be created for qualified US workers with in this investment or commercial enterprise. This program was created in 1990 and is considered to be an opportunity to increase investor spending in the United States.

The conference speakers stipulated that by doing this, there is a benefit to all involved, the investors and their families, for today to invest in prime real estate, and as a way in which to increase wealth and expand opportunities for businesses to operate abroad. Whole segments were made to ease the process for these potential investors, for example informing them of their financing options and providing the investors with solutions to their issues. I noticed that some investors seemed interested, while others seemed to be undecided but where listening to the pitch of the AREAA conference speakers. The target audience of this conference was rich investors from other countries, mainly Asian investors. It was an interesting experience and I am glad I attended, as I learned something new pertaining to the way our government encourages foreign investments and the very large market for it. The conference provided me with a personal glimpse at how individuals who are considered to be millionaires are targeted by not only companies, but government as a whole due to the immense value that they can bring to either of these parties.

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