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Chinese investors buy more overseas properties

OVERSEAS commercial and residential property investment made by Chinese mainland investors surged 53 percent from 2015 to a record US$33 billion last year, mainly fuelled by insurers' strong appetite to diversify out of their home market, according to latest data released by international real estate services provider JLL.

While investment in land, offices and hotels account for 90 percent of all Chinese outbound capital in the last three years, the hotel and industrial sectors registered the largest increase in 2016 due to significant transactions in the US in the form of portfolio sales as well as Chinese buyers' robust appetite for industrial parks.

Last year's hotel activity was mainly boosted by the purchase of Strategic Hotels and Resorts by Anbang Insurance for over US$6 billion and China Life Insurance's portfolio purchase from the Starwood Capital Group.

"We do believe that Chinese investors will continue to be major movers of capital into global real estate for many years to come," said David Green-Morgan, director of global capital markets research at JLL. "But a similar increase in 2017 may be challenging given the recent discussion about China monitoring its capital outflows."

Notably, land acquisitions by Chinese mainland investors made a comeback last year, with a notable rise of 44 percent following significant transactions in Hong Kong, Australia and Malaysia, according to JLL data.


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