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Chinese investors dominate Asian overseas real estate investments in 2016 — CBRE

Chinese investors accounted for almost half of the $60 billion in investments in overseas real estate last year by Asian investors, up sharply from 28% of the $62.4 billion in 2015, according to an announcement Tuesday by real estate services and investment firm CBRE Group.

China’s investments in overseas real estate rose to $28.2 billion in 2016 from $17.6 billion the year before despite recent moves by China’s government to restrict outbound investments as a means of curbing the renminbi’s depreciation in currency markets, a CBRE news release said.

That $10 billion boost in investments vaulted China past Singapore, the top source of capital for overseas real estate investments in 2015. For the latest year, Singapore investors bought $12 billion of property overseas, down from $19.3 billion the year before.

For the latest year, institutional investors continued to lead the way, contributing to six of the 10 biggest outbound real estate deals in 2016, the report said.

Yvonne Siew, executive director, CBRE’s global capital markets group, predicted that growing scrutiny by China’s government, which could lengthen the time needed for investors to win approval for overseas property purchases, could moderate the growth in outflows from that country.

“Regardless, Chinese appetite for global real estate investment will remain solid but more cautious, with Chinese insurers and qualified asset managers being the active institutional investor class,” she said in a news release.

The latest report showed U.S. real estate remained the top destination for Asian investors in 2016, with 43% of the total, followed by Europe, the Middle East and Africa, at 27%, and Asia, with 23%. Australasia accounted for the remaining 7%.

New York was the top destination for Asian capital, surpassing London, the top destination for 2015.

The top five metropolitan destinations for Asian investments accounted for 37% of the total, down from 42% the year before as Asian investors sought out assets “in more diverse markets globally,” the release said.