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Chinese Dominate Global Investment in U.S. Commercial Property

Phil Hall
Jun 06, 2017
The Chinese presence in U.S. commercial real estate is significant on both the buying and selling fronts

The Chinese presence in U.S. commercial real estate is significant on both the buying and selling fronts, according to a National Association of Realtors (NAR) survey of real estate brokers involved in commercial property transactions with foreign clients.
According to the NAR survey, nearly two-thirds of commercial foreign buyer and seller clients were non-resident foreigners. On the buyers’ side, the top countries of origin represented in transactions were China (17 percent), Mexico (14 percent) and the United Kingdom and Venezuela (both at seven percent). Among sellers, most were from China (17 percent) or Brazil, Canada, France and Mexico (all at 10 percent). 
Florida and Texas were the top two states where foreigners purchased and sold commercial property last year, with California ranked as the third most popular buyer destination and Michigan named as the third top state where foreigners sold real estate.
However, commercial mortgage opportunities here are often limited: the survey also found that 60 percent of international transactions were closed with cash, with 34 percent of commercial deals involved debt financing from U.S. sources.
And the level of activity is expected to grow. “Forty percent of Realtors expect an increase in foreign buying clients this year,” said NAR Chief Economist Lawrence Yun. “The healthy labor markets and lower property prices in smaller markets are poised to make up a larger share of activity.”

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