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Chinese Investors Eye Multifamily Properties

With a cooling market making it more difficult to turn a quick profit, Chinese investors are turning their attention to more stable assets, like multifamily buildings.

The multifamily trend marks the third wave of Chinese investors on the heels of recent headline-grabbing hotel acquisitions like Anbang's Waldorf Astoria purchase, insiders say. 

With longer investment horizons (and less focus on short-term yield), multifamily assets become an attractive proposition for institutional investors.

“You could invest in bonds, but you don’t get anywhere near the kind of returns on bonds these days that you still get out of real estate,” Real Capital Analytics senior VP Jim Costello says.

They typically have a longer time frame and lower return expectations. Another possible factor driving interest toward low-risk assets is the belief that the market is nearing—or perhaps even passing—the peak.

So far the interest in multifamily buildings is just that—interest. Actual transactions involving Chinese firms have been condos. For instance, China Vanke, Slate Property Group and Adam America are joining forces for a 33-story condo project in downtown Brooklyn.

Meanwhile Xinyuan Real Estate—one of the first Chinese firms to put big money in New York—is working on the condo Oosteen in Williamsburg and a second condo project in Hell's Kitchen. Greenland Holdings Group of Pacific Park/Atlantic Yards (pictured) is the only current major Chinese multifamily developer. [TRD]