Feb 1, 2023 - News

Axios interviews Rosalia Chiu about bill banning Chinese homebuyers

Photo illustration of Rosalia Chiu with the city of Austin and circles in the background.

Photo Illustration: Lindsey Bailey/Axios. Photo: Courtesy of Rosalia Chiu

We caught up with Rosalia Chiu, who has worked as a real estate agent in the Austin market for 21 years, to ask her about proposed legislation that would bar Chinese nationals from buying property in Texas.

  • Born in Hong Kong, she moved to Austin in 2002 after a career in consulting and project management in Taiwan and Silicon Valley. She lives in Leander and calls her realty job "retirement community service."
  • She speaks Mandarin, Cantonese, Shanghainese and Taiwanese Hokkien — and at least half her clients are of Asian backgrounds, she tells Axios.

Why it matters: State Sen. Lois Kolkhorst, a Republican from Brenham, has proposed banning citizens, governments and entities from China, Iran, North Korea and Russia from purchasing property in Texas — and Gov. Greg Abbott has said he would sign the bill into law.

Between the lines: Tray Bates, vice president of governmental affairs at the powerful Texas Realtors association, says that "our members have concerns about the impact of this proposed legislation and the association is discussing those concerns with its membership, bill authors, and other stakeholders."

How do you feel about this proposal?

"America is the land of freedom. Anyone should be able to buy a home. If they have the money, why not?"

Why do Chinese nationals buy in the Austin area?

"Many come to school here and some are investors, who never live there. Some want to buy a condo for their kids who go to UT — we call them kiddie condos. They'll sell it when their kid graduates. Some are corporate executives who work with a company here, they like Austin, and they decide they want to buy a house. Or they come as tourists and want to buy property here.

  • "They're not out to control the economy or something. They're not scammers or terrorists."

As a Realtor who handles Chinese buyers, this could harm your income, correct?

"This is about equal opportunity for everybody. I'm not opposed because of my bottom line."


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