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Commercial Property & Real Estate Investment in China

Mar 4, 2008
China is an incredible country with a number of attractions to boast of. This favorite destination offers investors, tourists, and prospective residents a wealth of opportunities. Before 1990s, there were only few office buildings, commercial properties and housing units in the country. But the country has now undergone tremendous changes and you can see high-rise condominiums, luxury apartments, and commercial buildings dominating the skyline of China.

All of the destinations in the country including Chongqing, Beijing, Shanghai and Tianjin are hotspots for investing in all types of properties. Beijing, the capital and seat of administration, has a population of 13.5 million people. Shanghai (16.4 million) is considered as the financial capital of the country, and it is also home to the Shanghai Stock Exchange. Shanghai has been chosen as the venue for some parts of the 2008 Olympics. Investing in Chinese properties can certainly fetch you handsome returns.

There are several reasons why savvy investors are attracted to invest in the country's real estate. China is one of the world's fastest growing economies. With the formation of the World Trade Organization, the country has emerged as the leader of the global economy.

Property prices in many of the Chinese cities are one third of the prices of world's leading cities such as New York, London and Tokyo, as a result of the huge number of direct foreign investments every year. The crime rates in China are very low, In contrast to other countries in Asia. This has made China a safe place to live in. To crown it all, China is welcoming foreigners wholeheartedly. Westerners are attracted to the country in large numbers thanks to the highly educated, amicable, and well mannered Chinese people.

Investors interested in entering the Chinese property markets can be classified into institutional investors, commercial property investors, and residential property investors. Institutional investors are interested in investing in multistoried office complexes and latest retail units, owing to their high demand and potential for shortage in future.

Commercial property investors invest mostly in properties such as office spaces, hotels, warehouses and commercial lands. Residential property investors largely invest in residential properties such as houses, single detached houses, townhouses, villas, condominiums, apartments, and serviced apartments. Many people invest in these properties with a view to sell them in future when their prices rise, and there are others who invest in these properties to rent them out and reap high profits.

The price of a property in China depends on many factors such as the nature of the property and the location. For example, a standard apartment in Shanghai costs about 20000 Renminbi (people's money) per square meter. However, the price of a Chinese serviced apartment with high end amenities ranges between 25000 and 30000 RMB per square meter. Real estates around city centers or near transportation hubs are always likely become the most valuable. In China there is a growing demand for retail and industrial space, as more and more Chinese citizens move to urban areas seeking jobs.

If you are interested in real estate in China you can either directly invest in the property itself or through a Real Estate Investment Trust. An REIT is an investment firm specializing in real state business. It is a commercial organization that handles real estate portfolio in order to make profits. REITs engage in owning and operating income-generating real estate properties such as apartments, shopping centers, condos, hotels, offices, and warehouses. They offer investors financial instruments of the nature of mutual funds. While mutual funds focus on stocks, REITs concentrate on real estate.

One of greatest benefits of investing through a real estate investment trust is that it brings huge tax benefits, as investors are exempted from paying any tax over the dividends. Another great benefit in investing through REITs is that you can trade your assets just like stocks. Yet another advantage of investing through REIT is that no minimum amount has been fixed for the investment.

There are a number of real estate firms to help you find your dream property in China. They offer a range of real estate services such as market analysis, property search, advertising and negotiation with sellers. Most of these real estate firms provide services of professional attorneys to verify the authenticity of documents.
About the Author
Wantanee Khamkongkaew is an independent author evaluating and commenting on leading International Property Consultants in Asia and Greater China , especially CB Richard Ellis.
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