CHINA’S outbound real estate investment surged 50 percent year on year in the first three quarters of 2015 to US$15.6 billion as insurers increasingly diversified their investment portfolios, according to a report by Jones Lang LaSalle yesterday.
“We are seeing a structural shift with Chinese insurance companies globalizing their investment portfolios, including real estate,” said David Green Morgan, global research director at JLL.
“Continued loosening of outbound investment regulations since 2012 is driving China’s insurance groups to actively seek real estate assets in gateway cities around the world.”
It’s a trend that JLL expects will continue as the five biggest Chinese insurers have channeled only around 1 percent of their invested capital in real estate, below the regulatory ceiling of 15 percent.
Chinese insurance groups could allocate up to US$240 billion to invest in real estate outside China over the long term, according to JLL’s forecasts.
JLL said outbound investment in real estate will rise to US$20 billion this year from US$16.5 billion in 2014.
Chinese real estate investments this year include Hainan Airline’s purchase of the building housing Reuters headquarters in London, and China Life Insurance and Ping An Insurance’s joint US$500 million Boston development project, known as Pier 4. Anbang Insurance also sealed three investment deals in Waldorf Astoria New York, a Manhattan office building, and an office tower in Toronto’s financial district.