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Chinese Investors' U.S. Real Estate Spree May Dwindle This Year


Chinese investors poured a record-breaking $19.2B into U.S. real estate last year, and office and hotel assets were their favorite grabs.

Out of a whopping $19B, investors paid a combined $16.1B for office and hotel real estate, according to data from Cushman & Wakefield.

Hotel investment jumped to $8.6B last year compared to $2.8B in 2015, which was helped by Anbang Insurance Group’s $6.5B purchase of Blackstone's hotel portfolio. Anbang’s purchase significantly impacted investment volume in San Francisco, Los Angeles and Chicago. Office investment also doubled last year, reaching about $7.5B, up significantly from 2015's $3.5B.

Experts say these numbers will not likely be repeated this year now that China’s government is tightening its monetary policy and restricting outbound capital until September.

“Chinese enterprises have been aware that the Chinese government will have tighter controls of overseas investment, which has led to an increased pace and size in M&A deals in the past year,” Cushman & Wakefield senior managing director Xinyi McKinny said.

These enterprises, which invested $223B across multiple industries in the U.S. last year, also may need time to consolidate the integrations, especially for mega-deals, McKinny said.

Chinese companies are being more selective in their buys, espeicially since regulators are limiting, not altogether stopping, international investment within the next few months.

The government will restrict deals involving more than $10B, mergers and acquisitions worth more than $1B outside a Chinese investor’s core business, and deals from state-owned enterprises worth more than $1B. In 2016, more than half of the deals made were worth more than $1B.

Cushman & Wakefield expects Chinese development to focus on strategic asset allocation, which will mean office, hotel and residential developments, and will look for local partners to assist with the expansion. Chinese investors are investing more throughout the U.S. instead of just West and East Coast gateway cities.