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Property deals drop 67 percent nationwide

REAL estate investment transactions dropped 67 percent in China in the first quarter of this year compared to the third quarter of 2008 as sentiment remained sluggish among investors across Asia Pacific, Colliers International, a world-leading real estate-services company, said yesterday in its latest report.

Colliers said it used the third quarter as a comparison because it wanted to use the latest data before the global financial crisis set in.

South Asia had the worst performance in the region as real estate investment plunged 84 percent.

Among investment categories, industrial properties suffered the most with an 84 percent contraction across the region, it said.

In the first three months, sizeable investment deals valued at US$50 million or above were scarce across Asia Pacific.

Owner occupiers and cash-rich private investors largely focused on mid-priced assets while institutions and real-estate investment funds sat on the sidelines, Colliers said.

With uncertain occupation demand, selective lending by banks and wide bid-offer spreads, the market faces a challenging environment through the year, Colliers forecast.

In China, some individual investors made preemptive moves before the recent revision of the Chinese Insurance Law, which allows local insurance companies to invest directly in real estate.

Investors will most likely have opportunities in Shanghai's residential, office and retail properties.

The relaxation of investment regulations coupled with the lowering of equity ratios for development projects will stimulate the country's real-estate market, the report said.


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