Chinese interest in overseas property strong despite capital controls

Romesh Navaratnarajah1 Aug 2017

New York City

Chinese buyers continue to snap up overseas properties, with the US emerging as a popular investment destination.

Despite tighter capital controls, appetite among Chinese buyers for overseas property remains strong with the US emerging as a popular investment destination, particularly in coastal markets like California and New York, reported Forbes.

Data from China’s Ministry of Commerce showed that Chinese outbound investment fell by almost 46 percent to US$48.19 billion in H1 2017, after the government tightened enforcement of capital controls.

In fact, Chinese property search portal Juwai expects outbound real estate investment by Chinese individuals and companies to drop by up to 20 percent to US$80 billion this year, from last year’s US$101.4 billion.

However, a report by the National Association of Realtors, which was based on a survey of some 6,000 realtors in the US, showed that 35 percent of the respondents witnessed an increase in the percentage of international client transactions, with Greater China buyers topping the list.

A recent survey by Australia-based online property platform Investorist also showed that while there had been some signs of slowing in buying activity by the Chinese, the overall desire to diversify remains strong.

“Despite increased capital controls imposed by the Chinese government in 2016, Chinese people remain extremely motivated to invest in foreign property for the long term,” noted the report.

Investorist founder and CEO Jon Ellis noted that the impact of capital controls on overseas real estate was uneven, with smaller, niche agencies adapting better, hence were more enthusiastic for the outlook, while bigger agencies are bearish.


Romesh Navaratnarajah, Senior Editor at PropertyGuru, edited this story. To contact him about this or other stories, email


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