Real Estate

Why Xi's visit to Trump's Florida estate could spark Mar-a-Lago mania

Afifah Darke
Chinese real estate investors head to Florida
Chinese real estate investors head to Florida

Chinese President Xi Jinping's visit to Mar-a-Lago will boost the already surging interest in Florida among Chinese homebuyers, according to the CEO of an international property portal in China.

The spotlight on President Donald Trump's club — which has an annual membership fee of $200,000 — has transformed Mar-a-Lago into a status symbol for rich and ambitious Chinese seeking to follow the footsteps of their country's most powerful man, according to Charles Pittar, CEO of

The Mar-a-Lago resort on April 6, 2017.
Joe Raedle | Getty Images

Xi's visit, he said, sends a strong message to China's domestic audience that Mar-a-Lago is a "wonderful" destination in which they should have confidence.

"Historically, Los Angeles and New York have been the mainstays of (Chinese) demand," Pittar said, adding that Florida is quickly taking the spotlight, spurring on a Mar-a-Lago mania.'s database, which calculates the number of inquiries as buyer interest, shows a 62.5 percent jump of Florida property inquiries from Chinese buyers in 2016 compared to 2015, and a 48 percent rise from 2014 to 2015.

With its sun, sand, sea and sprawling golf courses, it's perhaps little surprise that the Chinese are flocking to the Sunshine State. Other triggers for the spike in Chinese demand include the possible upcoming direct flights between Florida and China, and the boost of confidence within the community when Chinese developers start building at a particular location, Pittar told CNBC's "Squawk Box."