china real estate

China Eases Foreign Ownership Real Estate Restrictions

No more limits, though some residency restrictions

Good news foreign investors: If Chinese stocks aren’t your cup of tea, now you too can buy up Chinese real estate.

According to the Ministry of Commerce, ten year-old restrictions that prevented foreign individuals and institutions from purchasing more than one Chinese property after having worked in China for a year have finally been removed.

While expats are now allowed to purchase as many properties as they’d like throughout the country, they are still subject to restrictions in cities like Beijing and Shanghai, where regulations state that anyone without a valid hukou residency are limited to purchasing only one property.

Foreign real estate buyers will also be exempt from registration fees when taking out domestic and foreign loans for property, as well as for foreign exchange transactions. The new terms apply to all qualified overseas institutions with branches and representative offices in China, and individuals working or studying in the country.

While the easing of restrictions may appear to be a significant move by the government, experts doubt there will be  much of an impact on real estate in China.

Joe Zhou, head of research for the China operation at Jones Lang LaSalle, an investment management company specializing in real estate, believes China’s real estate market won’t be impacted by the announcement. “On one hand, overseas buyers account for a really small proportion in the country’s property sales market; on the other hand, real estate prices in China have simply soared over the past decade, which has made properties here not attractive to overseas buyers anymore,” said Zhou.

Meanwhile, Chinese real estate investors spent a total of $16.5 billion on overseas real estate last year, overtaking Canada to become the biggest buyers of US real estate.

Charles Liu

The Nanfang's Senior Editor