Domestic buyers seen as key driver

Updated 2016-12-30 11:40:36 China Daily
A potential buyer seeks information about property projects at a real estate expo in Shanghai.

A potential buyer seeks information about property projects at a real estate expo in Shanghai.

In real estate across the country, domestic buyers are expected to dominate big or block investment deals worth 100 million yuan (.5 million) or more each in the New Year, an industry report said.

That's because buyer interest in office buildings, serviced apartments and commercial complexes is rising, said a research report by DTZ/Cushman & Wakefield, a realty services provider.

The report said the realty investment market in China has been "particularly active" in 2016 and may continue to thrive in 2017.

Nationwide, block deals were worth some 200 billion yuan this year.

In Shanghai alone, block deals exceeded 130 billion yuan, more than double that in 2015, according to DTZ.

In terms of transaction value in Shanghai, office building deals accounted for more than 75 percent of all deals. In terms of transacted space, they accounted for more than 70 percent.

"An obvious trend is that domestic buyers are dominating the market, and the average transaction value of deals is rising. Domestic buyers are favoring premier office buildings that bring stable and steady income. Investors are looking for quality assets, and real estate market provides good opportunities," said Jim Yip, managing director of Investment and Advisory Services, China, DTZ/Cushman & Wakefield.

As the residential property policies have been tightened earlier this month, investors are looking at commercial realty. The easier interest rate environment has also encouraged buyers to look at bigger deals, said analysts.

Insurer-linked funds, which have been widely reported to have acquired overseas assets in previous years, are also allocating huge amounts to domestic assets like office buildings, commercial complexes and shopping malls.

Post transactions, buildings are refurbished or transformed for other purposes as per trends. For example, old hotels in central locations are turned into office buildings, the DTZ report said.

Office buildings in Wuhan, Shenzhen and Chengdu are in great demand as they play a key role in driving regional growth, the report said.

Serviced apartments are also expected to become a key real estate category and an investor target in the next few years, particularly in first- and second-tier cities, given the rise in transaction value there.

For instance, Shanghai's serviced apartments generated 7.15 billion yuan in 2016 sales, up from 4.2 billion yuan in 2015.

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