Something I learned a while back, you need to be very specific about the questions you ask, and don't ask open questions.
The BOC employee may have assumed you were talking about cash, in its narrowest sense. You need to specifically state that you want to bring money in to purchase a house. If the bank staff still say no, ask to speak to a manager.
Also make sure you go to the main branch, as sub branch staff (even managers) are often less knowledgeable about their own bank's procedures.
Assuming it is possible for property purchases. If it is done properly, with all of the correct paperwork, you will then have the proper paperwork to take the money out again if you liquidate the property at a future date.
tigertiger, I went to the main BOC branch on Beijing Lu and Renmin Lu and I mentioned to the representative that this was for the purchase of real estate. Anyway, our plans changed but I will return to the bank and clearly ask the question to a manager to get an accurate answer to the limit of inbound wire. Thanks for the heads up.
My wife and I want back to BOC and a got manager (that's what her badge indicated) with knowledge on wiring from abroad to ask about any limitation to wiring money in for real estate purchase. Even she didn't have the answer but upon insisting and being as crystal clear with specific examples, she had to confer with someone else and she came back that my wife could wire from her US bank account the amount necessary to purchase either a personal or commercial property as long as the money appears to be legit with bank statement confirmations.
Required reading for anyone planning to buy property in China: www.gokunming.com/[...]
Since this thread has been revived today, I am taking the liberty to reply to an old post from the previous page...
@Liumingke1234 wrote: "Same goes with empty store fronts. They stay unoccupied because they wwon't lower the leasing price. Years go by and they are still empty. I think they are losing big money."
They won't lower the leasing price because it is one of the prime inputs into determining real estate sales prices (cf. @tigertiger's discussion above of the rental multiplier). So if the owners leased the property at a lower price, they would probably lose more down the line on an eventual sales price than they would gain from rental income in the short term.
Just to be clear, in case someone comes to this thread on page 3 and draws the wrong conclusion about the rental multiplier. The rental multiplier does not set the property value. It is just a crude indicator to the level of property prices, i.e. overpriced (bubble) or under priced (depressed). I have heard figures of 200-300x being used to describe a sensible level, but that is of course subjective. I have only heard it used in this way, for the domestic property market.
As for leasing values of commercial property, that is a totally different market. People buy commercial property with the aim to earn/rent it out usually, and not as an investment. About 5 years ago we were quoted commercial property rents in Kunming (not in prime locations) that were higher than they were in comparable districts (not prime locations) in Shanghai. I cannot suggest reasons for this particular form of madness, except just dumb avarice.
Who knows, if same thing would be going on in China, like in Thailand, with foreigners marrying and 'buying a house', (or as they like to call it in Thailand 'a condo'), then realize they get nothing back after divorce. Its a risky decision for many reasons to buy a house in China, but those doing it for marriage probably want to dig into the papers, doubt they are in English, and as most expats cant even read 中国 who knows what those documents state, when even renting contracts have crap value. Its actually surprising havent heard of scams on this front with laowais included, but its been going on among chinese. Marry, property, divorce. Not a bad deal.
Maybe something some people need to look into.
@tigertiger wrote: "The rental multiplier does not set the property value. It is just a crude indicator to the level of property prices..."
This is true on its own terms, but I think the phrasing leaves an impression that the multiplier plays less of a role than it actually does. Much like price/earnings ratios on the stock market, rent multipliers are one of the prime inputs into determining the value of commercial and residential rental properties ( for example, see www.firstrepublic.com/[...] )
@tigertiger wrote: "People buy commercial property with the aim to earn/rent it out usually, and not as an investment."
First, I assume you're speaking loosely about which aim predominates for a given buyer, and not claiming that the aims are mutually exclusive.
Second, even so, that seems a difficult claim to support given the size and complexity of the real estate market, the variety of buyers, the varying mixes of motivations that different buyers have, and how all of the preceding evolve with market conditions. I doubt that it's possible to establish it with any certainty.
@tigertiger: Further to my last post above, we are still left with the phenomenon noted by @Liumingke1234 of commercial property owners leaving potential short-term rental money on the table. How might we explain this other than that they're doing it to preserve their rent multipliers at an attractive level for an eventual sale?