An artist’s impression of eco-friendly Forest City.
Developments at Forest City.

OUTBOUND property buying by investors from China surpassed the US$100 billion (RM480 billion) mark last year, according to Juwai.com.

Juwai.com’s estimation for Chinese outbound commercial and residential property investments last year was US$101.4 billion worldwide.

This estimation includes real estate purchases made by corporate investors and individuals, or retail-level investors. It is based on Juwai.com’s own data and information gathered from both industry and governments.

The top five destinations for Chinese investments are the United States, Australia, Hong Kong, Canada and the United Kingdom.

According to the international property portal, despite the “well-publicised issues” at Forest City in Johor, Malaysia is among the countries that would likely win more Chinese property investments this year, including from individual investors.

“Malaysia offers buyers from China very affordable prices, a perceived high quality of life, and a good economic story,” said Juwai.com of operations chief Sue Jong.

The Malaysian property market offers significant growth potential that stems from strong economic fundamentals and demographic factors, offering plenty of opportunities for Chinese investors.

Malaysia also offers a foreign residency scheme called “Malaysia My Second Home” (MM2H), which not only is relatively easier to get into compared with similar schemes elsewhere in the world, but also the cheapest within the region.

ANOTHER GOOD YEAR

Juwai.com is expecting 2017 to be another near-record year for China outbound property investments, although the flow will likely be lower than last year.

It said this year’s investing environment differs in important ways from that of last year, a year in which Chinese corporate and retail-level buyers purchased a record number of overseas properties.

“This year, China’s restrictions on the transfer of capital overseas, foreign buyer restrictions and taxes in some key markets, and the possibility of a slower economy are the three main factors that could reduce investment levels from last year.”

Despite this, Juwai.com said this year might well rank among the top three years ever recorded for China’s outbound property investments.

The portal expects Southeast Asia to be among the strongest performers this year in terms of attracting real estate investments from China.

“Southeast Asian nations are well placed to receive investments through China’s ‘Belt and Road’ initiative,” it said.

Despite tightened money transfer policy effective January 1, Chinese overseas property buyers remain undeterred, it said.

Although the policy tightening was meant to curb the overseas investment binge, Chinese buyer views had shown robust growth for top destinations on Juwai.com in February, such as for Thailand and Malaysia, which grew 89.3 and 69.4 per cent year-on-year (y-o-y), respectively.

Chinese buyer views for Canada, the US, and the UK saw a 47.2, 42.7, and 32.5 per cent y-o-y increase, respectively, during the same period.

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