Connections grow between China and Washington state, giving boost to high-end real estate

Economic Indicators Associated Press

Savvy Seattle-area real estate agents have gained an advantage by paying attention to the growing connections between China and Washington state.

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This year, Chinese visitors are on pace to top the list of international travelers to the Evergreen State. More than half of the 7,300 international students at the University of Washington are from the People's Republic. And a recent top-grossing Chinese romantic comedy featured a Beijing woman finding love in Seattle.

The influx has made its way to high-end property markets, and it's been significant enough that some Seattle-area homes are being built or remodeled to suit the tastes of Chinese buyers, who are purchasing homes with a median price of $500,000.

That number ranks No. 1 among all international investors, according to the National Association of Realtors.