Watch CBS News

'Ghost' Foreign Investors Buying Palo Alto Homes, But Keeping Them Empty

PALO ALTO (CBS SF) -- Neighbors in Palo Alto say houses are getting bought up by Chinese and other foreign investors who never move in, leaving neighborhoods full of empty "ghost" homes.

Life-long Palo Alto resident Tom Wacha says he sees a lot of the uninhabited homes, saying "I do see houses in the neighborhood that don't seem to be inhabited, that seems like a lot of money has gone into them."

Realtor Ken DeLeon says many of the buyers are coming from overseas, and realtors are even printing brochures in Mandarin to lure more Chinese buyers.

"For us, about twenty percent of the buyers are coming from China," DeLeon said.

Only about half of those Chinese buyers are choosing to live in the homes they've purchased.

"They're just happy to have parked their money in a relative safe haven that's a good investment, and they're not worried about losing $10,000 a month in rent," DeLeon said.

DeLeon and his team already print brochures in Mandarin and are now making videos in Mandarin to market to China.

View CBS News In
CBS News App Open
Chrome Safari Continue
Be the first to know
Get browser notifications for breaking news, live events, and exclusive reporting.