News: Chinese property buyers turn to Singapore, Portugal as alternative investment destinations

Nov 20, 2020

In Singapore, Chinese buyers accounted for nearly 25% of the total foreign property acquisitions during the first three quarters of 2020, showed Cushman and Wakefield data.

Enriched by the recent stock market boom, property investors from mainland China turned their focus on Singapore, while shunning traditional markets such as the UK, the US and Australia amid concerns of weakening trade relations, reported South China Morning Post (SCMP).

Real Capital Analytics (RCA), which monitors deals costing over US$10 million (S$13.4 million), revealed that Chinese investors accounted for 5% or US$21.7 billion (S$29 billion) of global real estate investment activity in the first nine months of 2020. In 2019, they accounted for 4% or US$41.7 billion (S$56 billion) of the total.

“In recent years there has been a consistent desire from PRC investors to diversify outside China to complement their domestic investments,” said Oliver Watt, Director at Savills’ London-based cross-border investment team, as quoted by SCMP.

“We see notable pent-up demand.”

In Singapore, Chinese buyers accounted for nearly 25% of the total foreign property acquisitions during the first three quarters of 2020, showed Cushman and Wakefield data.

“Amid the turbulent regional economic and geopolitical conditions, foreign buyers [including Chinese investors] remain on the lookout for good deals in Singapore,” SCMP quoted Wong Xian Yang, Associate Director for Research in Singapore and Southeast Asia at Cushman & Wakefield as saying.

Recommended article: Property Investment in Singapore: How to Get Started, Calculate Rental Yield and More

They also emerged as the top foreign buyers of non-landed residential properties last quarter, according to official figures.

This comes as their purchases of non-landed houses more than doubled to 271 in Q3 2020 from the previous quarter, according to OrangeTee &Tie data, based on Urban Redevelopment Authority statistics.

“To many Chinese investors, properties in Singapore are highly attractive and many see the merits of staying or investing in Singapore especially given the positive capital appreciation of many properties here,” noted Christine Sun, Head of Research and Consultancy at OrangeTee & Tie as quoted by SCMP.

Aside from Singapore, more Chinese investors flocked to Portugal, particularly Lisbon and Porto after the government announced plans to scrap both cities from its “golden visa” or passport-for-cash programme next year.

With this, Portugal saw inquiries from Chinese investors surge 176% during the first nine months of 2020, said Juwai IQI.

“China’s economy is doing well, buyers have money and motivation. After being unable to travel or go overseas this year, they have vast pent-up demand,” said Georg Chmiel, Executive Chairman of Juwai IQI as quoted by SCMP.

“After a year of sitting on the sidelines, there will be many who want to get into the market and travel overseas again.”

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