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Investment in overseas property up

2014-07-31 11:17 Global Times Web Editor: Qin Dexing

Residential purchases see remarkable growth

Money flowing out of China into the overseas real estate market in the first half of 2014 rose by 17 percent year-on-year, reaching $5.4 billion, a real estate consultancy said Wednesday.

Commercial investment has taken the lions share of almost $4 billion, but the growth has come from residential investment which is 84 percent higher than 2013 at $1.5 billion, real estate consultancy Jones Lang LaSalle (JLL) said in a press release e-mailed to the Global Times.

London proved to be the most popular destination for Chinese investors in the first half to invest in both commercial and residential property markets, according to the press release.

Institutional investors such as China Construction Bank, China Overseas Holdings and China Life Insurance (Group) Co have bought office assets in the core central business district in London.

Besides the markets in major global cities including San Francisco, Chicago and Sydney, some "smaller less liquid markets like Spain where yields are higher but so are the risks" also became targets for the more experienced investors, David Green-Morgan, global capital markets research director at JLL, said in the press release.

Dalian Wanda Group bought an office asset in Madrid from the Santander Banking Group in June, becoming one of the first Chinese investors into the Spanish market.

To attract Chinese private investors, some Southern European countries, such as Portugal and Cyprus, have introduced visa programs such as "Golden Visa" since 2013, according to the press release. The buyers will qualify for residency if they invest 500,000 euros ($669,300) or more in property or stocks in Portugal, for instance.

For private investors, Spain, which introduced a scheme similar to that of Portugal in 2013, is "very attractive," Zhu Fengbo, president of retirement facility developer Beijing Sun Cities Group, said Wednesday.

Zhu's company has signed an agreement with Best Levante, a Spanish company which focuses on real estate and immigration formalities, this month in an effort to help Chinese buyers to invest in Spain.

"Spain with a pleasing climate and good healthcare is very attractive to aging Chinese people for old-age care," Zhu noted, disclosing that four Chinese buyers decided to buy housing assets in Madrid right after the company's agreement, and 20 more are making purchase plans.

Chinese private investors have also showed interest in residential units in markets in the US, Australia and the UK for their children's education, care for the elderly and investment, Wang Lu, director of the international investment department at Colliers International, a global real estate consultancy, said Wednesday.

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