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Chinese replace Russians as Manhattan's top foreign apartment buyers

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For the first time, the Chinese have become the biggest foreign buyers of apartments in Manhattan, taking the top spot from the Russians - whose activity has dropped off in light of recent developments in Ukraine and Russia.

Wealthy Chinese are pouring money into real estate in New York and some other major cities around the world, including London and Sydney, as they seek safe havens for their cash and also establish a base for their children to get an education abroad. (More than 80 percent of wealthy Chinese want to send their children overseas to school, according to the Hurun Report, a Shanghai-based publication.)

Many of these buyers are switching their interest away from markets like Shanghai, Hong Kong and Singapore amid fears soaring prices in those cities. Luxury apartments cost between $4,100 and $5,000 per square foot in Hong Kong, while in Manhattan and Sydney they cost half that, ranging from about $2,100 to $2,500, according to Knight Frank's Prime International Residential Index.