Investment from China last year exceeded Singapore as the largest source of Asian capital in the global property market for the first time, accounting for almost half of the total US$60bn (£48.8bn) investment, according to CBRE.
The global property service provider expects to see smaller deals this year potentially replace the large transactions witnessed in 2016.
Outbound property investment by Chinese institutional investors last year rose to just over 56% to US$28.2bn (£22.9bn) from US$18.1bn (£14.1bn) a year earlier, CBRE said in its Asian outbound investment report released this week.
Singapore’s investment last year fell 35% to US$12bn (£9.8bn), while Hong Kong ranked third with US$8.4bn (£6.8bn).
Chinese firms accounted for four of the top 10 largest outbound deals last year, thanks to the appreciating US dollar, rising demand for global asset allocation and the previous policy that permitted Chinese financial institutions to invest in property abroad.
Office and hotel assets were the primary focus of Chinese investors, accounting for 85% of China’s capital outflows in 2016, CBRE said. The US retained its position as the most popular destination, followed by Hong Kong and Britain.
Alan Li, managing director of capital Markets for CBRE greater China, commented: “Despite recent policies by the government restricting Chinese outbound investment, Chinese appetite for global real estate investment will remain solid but more cautious.
“Instead of larger transactions, Chinese investors may simply opt for a higher number of smaller deals.”