Singha Estate reaches out to 100 agencies for sale of condo units to foreigners #SootinClaimon.Com

#SootinClaimon.Com : ขอบคุณแหล่งข้อมูล : หนังสือพิมพ์ The Nation.

Singha Estate reaches out to 100 agencies for sale of condo units to foreigners

Oct 20. 2020

By THE NATION

Singha Estate plans to work with over 100 agencies to sell condos to foreigners, aiming to achieve sales of 70 per cent of units by year-end.

Natthawut Matthayomchan, chief property development officer at Singha Estate Pcl, said that the impact of the Covid-19 outbreak had greatly reduced the company’s sales which relied heavily on foreign customers. “As foreigners are not yet allowed to enter Thailand, we are planning to invite over 100 property agencies, both big and small, to help sell our condos to foreign customers who are interested in buying condos in Thailand,” he said.

“Thailand has proven to be highly efficient in controlling the outbreak, resulting in foreigners interested in our property market more than that of competitors in Hong Kong or China. These are high potential customers who are able to afford luxurious condos worth over Bt10 million per unit,” he added.

Natthawut said that the company had recently introduced a new project called “The ESSE Sukhumvit 36”, a 43-storey high-rise condo project with 338 units and total value at Bt6.5 billion. “This project is a joint investment with Hong Kong Land Plc and aims to attract foreign investors living in Thailand,” he added.

Due to the outbreak the company has also adjusted the ownership transfer target from Bt9 billion to Bt4 billion. “In the first half of 2020 we have achieved over Bt1 billion worth of ownership transfer from our customers, 40 per cent of whom are foreigners,” added Natthawut.

As for the trend of new projects next year, Natthawut said that the company would focus on developing horizontal condos at a price lower than Bt100 million per unit to attract new generation buyers who want home-like space in a condo format. “These projects will be under a new brand, as currently we already have a horizontal project under the Santi Buri brand but the units are priced around Bt150 million,” he said.

Land in Phuket becoming more attractive to local investors #SootinClaimon.Com

#SootinClaimon.Com : ขอบคุณแหล่งข้อมูล : หนังสือพิมพ์ The Nation.

Land in Phuket becoming more attractive to local investors

Oct 07. 2020

By The Nation

Over the past nine months, Phuket has weathered an economic storm from the loss of foreign tourists due to the Covid-19 outbreak.

Yet, despite a scarcity in available land, leading property consultant CBRE has seen an increased demand from domestic investors and individual buyers.

Prakaipeth Meechoosarn, who oversees investment and resort land for CBRE Phuket, said: “In the past, the Phuket real-estate market attracted more foreign investors, as it is a leading resort destination. However, due to travel restrictions, now more local players are eyeing Phuket as a potential investment, especially if the property has an attractive price tag.”

Though the government launched a Special Tourist Visa since October 1 to attract high-end, long-stay tourists in a bid to rebuild the tourism sector, foreign investors are not rushing to purchase land in Phuket.

Records from CBRE’s Investment and Resort Land team in Phuket show that land enquiries from local buyers in the first nine months of this year had risen by 50 per cent compared to the same period last year. Of these inquiries, 62 per cent are from local developers seeking plots for new developments or private buyers looking to build holiday homes.

“Land that fits conventional requirements for development, such as beachfront and ocean view, is still low in supply. However, more plots are becoming available. As the current situation is a buyer’s market, landowners are more open to negotiations and willing to consider options,” Prakaipeth added.

“Phuket is a good option for investment as land is being offered at reasonable prices. The market has not been this attractive since the pre-COVID-19 days. However, investors and buyers may have less time for decision-making, due to a shortage in supply.”

Manhattan landlords’ latest lure: Free rent until next year #ศาสตร์เกษตรดินปุ๋ย

#ศาสตร์เกษตรดินปุ๋ย : ขอบคุณแหล่งข้อมูล : หนังสือพิมพ์ The Nation.

Manhattan landlords’ latest lure: Free rent until next year

Oct 05. 2020A New York apartment building on Dec. 10, 2017. MUST CREDIT: Bloomberg photo by Victor J. Blue.
Photo by: Victor J. Blue — Bloomberg
Location: New York United StatesA New York apartment building on Dec. 10, 2017. MUST CREDIT: Bloomberg photo by Victor J. Blue. Photo by: Victor J. Blue — Bloomberg Location: New York United States 

By Syndication Washington Post, Bloomberg · Oshrat Carmiel, Natalie Wong · BUSINESS, PERSONAL-FINANCE 
“Don’t pay rent until 2021,” is the message blaring from a web page of New York apartment listings by Related Cos.

Manhattan landlord Stonehenge says you can “Live free for 3” in some of its units. That’s in addition to the Citi Bike membership and American Express gift cards the company is offering students and recent graduates who sign leases.

Landlords are growing more desperate as they struggle to fill apartments amid an urban exodus. And they’re no longer reluctant to show their hand: Generous giveaways that just months ago were hashed out behind the scenes are now advertised boldly for anyone browsing online.

“You can’t hide it anymore,” said Gary Malin, chief operating officer of brokerage Corcoran Group, which represents landlords. “Owners are saying to themselves, ‘I’d rather be honest from the beginning, rather than play a game back and forth, and otherwise lose a tenant.'”

With many people still working from home, restaurants largely shuttered and schools mostly online, New Yorkers are finding few reasons to stay put in the city’s costliest borough. Manhattan rental listings soared last month to more than double the inventory from a year earlier, according to appraiser Miller Samuel Inc. and brokerage Douglas Elliman Real Estate. The vacancy rate jumped to a record-high 5.1% from under 2% last August.

That gives renters leverage, and they’ll choose an apartment with “the best possible deal” over one they love the most, Malin said.

“Tenants are filling out four to five applications at the same time and negotiating one offer against the other,” he said. “Owners want to lead with their best foot. If you sit and try to hold on for every last penny, for every last dollar, tenants are just going to go somewhere else.”

Enticements such as a free month, complimentary gym membership or payment of a broker’s fee have long been standard in New York when landlords want to fill units in a slowing market. These days, it’s not uncommon to see pitches for three free months, especially in buildings that have fancy public amenities that have been off limits during the pandemic.

Brookfield Properties is offering three months free at downtown’s New York by Gehry tower. Equity Residential has the same deal on select units at some of its pricier buildings, including Prism at Park Avenue South, where perks include a golf simulator, spin room and an indoor lap pool.

At Stonehenge’s buildings — all but one in Manhattan — occupancy was almost 99% before the lockdown, Chief Executive Officer Ofer Yardeni said. That figure slipped to 85% as tenants moved back with their parents, to the suburbs or to the beach to ride out the summer while working remotely.

Now, with the weather cooling and more businesses reopening, people are starting to consider coming back, and Yardeni is using the sweeteners to get their attention. Stonehenge is offering three free months because its competitors are, too, he said. And behind the scenes, current tenants are being paid as much as $4,000 if they find takers for empty units in the company’s buildings.

“I’ve been in the business for over 30 years and I’ve never seen the market this way,” Yardeni said. “It’s almost like a falling knife.”

Related is giving renters up to three free months on new leases at buildings including One Union Square South and Tribeca Tower, a spokeswoman for the developer confirmed. For a time, it also offered brokers a fee equivalent to two months rent — larger than the traditional payout.

The incentives apply only to new tenants, creating a “slippery slope” for landlords who also need to hang on to existing renters, according to Yardeni. He added that his company offers adjustments on renewals on a case-by-case basis.

With the rental market heading into its typically slowest season, property owners know if they don’t fill apartments now, the job will get even harder in the coming months.

“Most landlords, especially the smaller ones, can’t afford to leave their properties vacant,” said Michael P. Feldman, chief executive officer of Choice New York Cos., one of New York’s biggest apartment managers. “You’ll start to see four to five months of free rent consistently throughout the winter.”

While offering such big breaks sounds like surrender, it’s actually a smart move, according to Malin.

“Whatever you give away, you’re bringing in tenants quicker, you get rent quicker,” he said. “You start to mitigate your losses and you’ll come out ahead.”

Sena rolls out condos at under Bt1 million to woo first jobbers #ศาสตร์เกษตรดินปุ๋ย

#ศาสตร์เกษตรดินปุ๋ย : ขอบคุณแหล่งข้อมูล : หนังสือพิมพ์ The Nation.

Sena rolls out condos at under Bt1 million to woo first jobbers

Oct 02. 2020

By THE NATION

Property developer Sena Development Plc is focusing on low-price condominiums that are affordable for first jobbers because of the fallout of the Covid-19 crisis that has hit several sectors hard, including property, and led to contraction of the economy.

Kesara Tanyaluckpak, Sena’s deputy chief executive officer, said the company was targeting those aged 25-30 years with a monthly salary of Bt15,000 and above.

“We have introduced the brand “Sena Kitt” that features eight condo projects at sub-Bt1 million price with total value at Bt2.37 billion,” she said. “Four projects have already opened, in the Rangsit, Bankradee, Phaholyothin and Phetkasem areas, in the first half of 2020. We plan to announce the rest of the projects before the year-end.”

Kesara added that the latest project, “Sena Kitt Theparak”, which opened last week, was able to secure the sale of 158 out of 328 units, valued at Bt126 million.

Samma Keetasin, the company’s independent board member, added that the condo market in Bangkok and surrounding areas in the first half of 2020 had seen a huge drop from 66,367 units sold last year to only 8,792 units sold.

“Condos priced at Bt1 million to Bt3 million have the highest sales of over 6,000 units in the first half of this year, while those under Bt1 million sold only 221 units,” he said. “We estimate that towards the year-end, the demand for low-price condos will rise corresponding to the economic status and average household income that have been affected by the outbreak.”

Mortgage rates fall as demand for home loans rises #ศาสตร์เกษตรดินปุ๋ย

#ศาสตร์เกษตรดินปุ๋ย : ขอบคุณแหล่งข้อมูล : หนังสือพิมพ์ The Nation.

Mortgage rates fall as demand for home loans rises

Oct 02. 2020

By The Washington Post · Michele Lerner · BUSINESS, PERSONAL-FINANCE, US-GLOBAL-MARKETS 

Mortgage rates fell as growing demand for home loans continue to strain lenders’ capacity to process them.

The average for a 30-year fixed-rate mortgage reached 2.88%, down from 2.90%, with an average 0.8 point, according to a Freddie Mac report released Thursday. (A point is a fee buyers pay, in addition to the interest rate, that equals 1% of the loan.) The average rate is substantially down from what it was a year ago – 3.65%.

The 15-year fixed-rate average reached 2.36%, down from 2.40%, with an average 0.7 point. The five-year adjustable-rate average at 2.90%, with an average 0.2 point, was unchanged from the previous week. The 15-year rate was 3.14% and the five-year was 3.38% a year ago.

“Mortgage rates are in a holding pattern because we have lots of big things looming and investors are waiting to see what happens,” said Danielle Hale, chief economist with Realtor.com. “Obviously, they’re waiting on the election results, but also on the next stimulus plan, which seems to start and stall. I expect mortgage rates to stay stable and not go up or down much until we get some of this big news.”

Freddie Mac’s Primary Mortgage Market Survey, from which the averages are derived, is confined to rates on conventional home loans for borrowers who make a 20% down payment and have excellent credit. Rates are likely to be higher for borrowers who make a smaller down payment and who have a lower credit score.

The yield on 10-year Treasury notes, Federal Reserve policies, the stock market and other economic indicators as well as the volume of mortgage applications also all play a role in determining rates individual borrowers are offered from week to week.

Pending home sales, which are homes that are under contract but have not yet gone to closing, rose by 24.2% in August compared to August 2019, according to the National Association of Realtors. They were also up 8.8% compared to July. The buyers of these homes are in the process of finalizing their mortgage loans, which contributes to high loan demand.

At the same time, mortgage applications for the week dropped – not so much from declining demand but from lenders trying to deal with an overwhelming interest from borrowers by curtailing the number of applications they will accept.

Lenders who “have been able to increase business capacity continue to offer more competitive rates than others who have been forced to slow volume with higher, less competitive rate offerings to consumers,” said Paul Buege, president and COO of Inlanta Mortgage in Pewaukee, Wis. “Lenders who have been forced to slow business by offering less competitive rates will usually adjust their refinance price offerings, but not their rates on mortgage loans to purchase a home.”

Because the Federal Reserve intends for at least the next two years to continue buying bundles of mortgages sold to investors called mortgage-backed securities, or MBSs, analysts say they expect home loan rates to remain at near historically low levels for the long term. Still, many lenders advise potential borrowers not to wait.

“The advice offered by most lenders: Act now and take advantage of the historically low rates to finance the purchase of a home or refinance a current mortgage,” Buege said. “Most agree rates will not drop much further, but have a slight chance of increasing. If you have a reason to act, do it now.”

Another possible reason not to wait, according to experts: Rising home prices might offset the savings generated by low mortgage rates.

Borrowers taking out a $400,000 loan at this week’s 2.88% would save about $170 per month, or more than $2,000 per year, compared to borrowers taking out that same loan at 3.65%, the rate this time last year.

“But keep in mind that a $400,000 loan with a 20% down payment would be a $500,000 property, which would look different than a $500,000 property a year ago because prices have risen so dramatically,” Hale said. “If prices are up 10% compared to last year, that $500,000 house would have cost $450,000. So, basically, low rates are saving only about $2 or $3 a month and are just offsetting the price increases. Low rates are helpful, but it depends on how long you’ve been shopping for a home whether they help that much.”

In a statement, Sam Khater, Freddie Mac’s chief economist, added: “We’re seeing potential home buyers who now have more purchasing power and many current homeowners who have the option to refinance their loan for a better rate. However, several factors could disrupt this activity, including high home prices, low inventory and lender capacity.”

The inability of lenders to keep up with the crush of demand for home loans is playing out in the weekly Mortgage Bankers Association report. The market composite index, which measures the total volume of applications, dropped 4.8%. The purchase index slid 2% but was 22% higher than a year ago. The refinance index fell 7% from a week earlier but was 52% higher than a year ago.

“There are indications that refinance rates are not decreasing to the same extent as rates for home purchase loans, and that could explain last week’s decline in refinances,” Joel Kan, MBA’s associate vice president of economic and industry forecasting, said in a statement. “Many lenders are still operating at full capacity and working through operational challenges, ultimately limiting the number of applications they are able to accept.”

Capella Bangkok tunes up new luxury riverside resort option #ศาสตร์เกษตรดินปุ๋ย

#ศาสตร์เกษตรดินปุ๋ย : ขอบคุณแหล่งข้อมูล : หนังสือพิมพ์ The Nation.

Capella Bangkok tunes up new luxury riverside resort option

Oct 01. 2020Capella BangkokCapella Bangkok 

By The Nation

Capella Bangkok officially opened its doors today, becoming Capella Hotels and Resorts’ first property in Thailand.

Situated within the prestigious Chao Phraya Estate, the urban resort is now inviting visitors to discover the rich cultural heritage of Bangkok’s historic waterfront district.

The resort also boasts the highly-anticipated Côte by Mauro Colagreco, the first Southeast Asian outpost for Chef Mauro, the Italo-Argentinian culinary maestro whose three Michelin-starred restaurant in France, Mirazur, was voted No 1 in the world at the World’s 50 Best Restaurant Awards in 2019. Or there’s Phra Nakhorn, an alfresco riverside restaurant showcasing the time-honoured Thai recipes of this storied district.

Habitat Group offers new investment property in North Pattaya #ศาสตร์เกษตรดินปุ๋ย

#ศาสตร์เกษตรดินปุ๋ย : ขอบคุณแหล่งข้อมูล : หนังสือพิมพ์ The Nation.

Habitat Group offers new investment property in North Pattaya

Sep 30. 2020

By The Nation

Thailand’s property-for-investment developer, Habitat Group, recently held a ground-breaking ceremony for their luxury low-rise resort-style property, Ramada Mira North Pattaya.

Construction of the condominium is expected to be completed in the fourth quarter of 2022.

Ramada Mira North Pattaya is Habitat Group’s seventh property-for-investment development. The investment proposition is a 30-year period of return on investment with 6 per cent guaranteed return for the first three years, after which returns are shared between investors (70 per cent) and developer (30 per cent).

As part of the lifestyle appeal, buyers can use their units for up to 14 days each year.

Ramada Mira North Pattaya is a two-building, eight-storey low-rise luxury resort-style condominium comprising 330 units, located on 3 rai of land in North Pattaya.

The completed development will be managed by the hotel management group, Wyndham Hotels and Resorts.

DC launches equity trust to acquire hotels ahead of Thai tourism rebound #ศาสตร์เกษตรดินปุ๋ย

#ศาสตร์เกษตรดินปุ๋ย : ขอบคุณแหล่งข้อมูล : หนังสือพิมพ์ The Nation.

DC launches equity trust to acquire hotels ahead of Thai tourism rebound

Sep 30. 2020From left: Natthapong na Ranong, CEO of KTB Securities (Thailand), James A Kaplan, CEO of Destination Capital, and Thotsaporn Pornvattanasirikul, REIT Trustee Department director of MFC Asset ManagementFrom left: Natthapong na Ranong, CEO of KTB Securities (Thailand), James A Kaplan, CEO of Destination Capital, and Thotsaporn Pornvattanasirikul, REIT Trustee Department director of MFC Asset Management 

By The Nation

Destination Capital (DC) has signed an agreement with KTB Securities (Thailand) and MFC Asset Management to capitalise and launch the DESCAP 1 Private Equity Trust, which will acquire hotels in Thailand.

The trust units, which are subject to Securities and Exchange Commission regulations, will be available to both foreign and domestic investors for subscription in October, with target capitalisation of Bt2.5 billion.

The trust has a five-year investment period extendable subject to market conditions by two years, targeting annual returns of up to 15 per cent.

DC will source, acquire, reposition and asset-manage hotels acquired by the trust, with KTB Securities acting as trust settlor and trust manager and MFC as trustee.

The investment strategy is to acquire urban and resort hotels and then renovate, reposition and rebrand to raise their value and generate meaningful returns to investors, utilising Destination Group’s experience gained from its 24-year track record in Thailand of buying, managing and selling hotels – particularly during times of distress.

“We are pleased to play such an important role to support the rejuvenation of the Thai travel and tourism industry with the announcement of the DESCAP 1 Private Equity Trust. This trust will invest in strategic hospitality assets to facilitate re-employment and hotel re-openings to relaunch Thailand as a preferred global travel destination. This could not have been done without the support of our advisor and trust manager, KTBST SEC and MFC as trustee,” said Kaplan.

The trust will give investors the opportunity to participate in the rebound of the Thai hotel and resort industry, he added.

The trust will acquire freehold hotels and resorts located in prime destinations including Bangkok, Pattaya, Hua Hin, and Phuket, as these locations should be the fastest to rebound from the Covid-19 impact.

Fund raising for the trust has two main target investor groups: institutional investors and high net worth individuals.

Home prices in 20 U.S. cities accelerate the most since 2018 #ศาสตร์เกษตรดินปุ๋ย

#ศาสตร์เกษตรดินปุ๋ย : ขอบคุณแหล่งข้อมูล : หนังสือพิมพ์ The Nation.

Home prices in 20 U.S. cities accelerate the most since 2018

Sep 30. 2020

By Syndication Washington Post,  Bloomberg · Craig Giammona · BUSINESS 

Home prices in 20 U.S. cities gained in July, pushed higher by demand for housing that has been fueled by low mortgage rates.

The S&P CoreLogic Case-Shiller index of property values increased 3.9% from 2019, beating the estimate of 3.6%. It was the biggest year-over-year increase since December 2018.

The housing market has been an unexpected bright spot for the U.S. economy, with Americans eager to take advantage of record-low mortgage rates. A shortage of inventory has helped prop up prices, particularly as Americans look for more space to spread out.

“With buyer demand showing no signs of a slow down, as well as limited inventory, more price increases are inevitably on the horizon,” said Danielle Hale, chief economist at Realtor.com.

The biggest increases came in Phoenix (9.2%), Seattle (7%) and Charlotte (6%). New York (1.3%), Chicago (0.8%) and San Francisco (2.5%) saw the smallest gains in July among the 20 cities tracked by the index.

Still, prices were up in those cities, even as the pandemic created anxiety about dense urban living. The pandemic has fueled a narrative that Americans are fleeing cities for the suburbs.

And while some residents have departed high-cost locations, including New York and San Francisco, the death of urban living is a “myth,” according to a research note from Barclays.

Read more: Mortgage Rates in the U.S. Increase, With 30-Year Loans at 2.9%

The higher homes prices come as the available inventory of properties to buy is tight. Some sellers are reluctant to list during a pandemic, while home builders are being cautious as they grapple with high lumber costs.

And while the homebuying stalled when the pandemic first hit, real estate is showing strength even with high unemployment and mounting bankruptcies putting the economic recovery on shaky ground.

“The housing market has withstood basically every obstacle that the pandemic has thrown its way,” Matthew Speakman, an economist at Zillow, said in a statement. “It appears that upward price pressure should endure into the fall.”

China’s middle-class dream of a second home in Malaysia dashed by coronavirus and geopolitical tensions #ศาสตร์เกษตรดินปุ๋ย

#ศาสตร์เกษตรดินปุ๋ย : ขอบคุณแหล่งข้อมูล : หนังสือพิมพ์ The Nation.

China’s middle-class dream of a second home in Malaysia dashed by coronavirus and geopolitical tensions

Sep 27. 2020Hot property: Affluent Chinese people are eager to make overseas investments or embrace a new lifestyle abroad, including in Malaysia. Photo credit: The StarHot property: Affluent Chinese people are eager to make overseas investments or embrace a new lifestyle abroad, including in Malaysia. Photo credit: The Star 

By The Star

Patricia Li is dismayed and saddened by the exodus of Chinese people she is witnessing in Johor, the southernmost state in Malaysia.

When she moved to the tropical Southeast Asian country from Yunnan province in 2017, the outlook was bright. Thousands of middle-class Chinese investors were flocking to Malaysia to buy property and secure a second home beyond China’s borders.

A number of Chinese developers have also invested heavily in Johor, promoting its proximity to Singapore and developing real-estate projects tailored for affluent Chinese people eager to make overseas investments or embrace a new lifestyle abroad. Since 2011, Guangdong-based developer Country Garden says it has invested close to RM20 billion (US$4.83 billion) in Malaysia, creating more than 1,500 jobs.

For her part, Li opened a teahouse in Johor to serve the Chinese community that was growing there, with many taking advantage of the Malaysia My Second Home (MM2H) programme, which launched in 2002 and offered foreign investors long-stay visas of up to 10 years.

A model of Country Garden’s Forest City development plan is seen in Johor Bahru city, Malaysia, in 2016. Photo: Bloomberg

A model of Country Garden’s Forest City development plan is seen in Johor Bahru city, Malaysia, in 2016. Photo: Bloomberg

But so much has changed in such a short time. The coronavirus outbreak and a worsening geopolitical environment have made Chinese investors wary, and the latest blow came last month when Malaysia decided to suspend the MM2H programme, in line with the government’s decision to bar foreigners from entering amid the pandemic.

Amid so much uncertainty, those dreaming of settling down in Johor have been forced to rethink their plans. Many have opted to simply leave Malaysia amid the pandemic. Unsure about when they might be able to return, some are taking the drastic step of selling their Malaysian homes remotely, at a steep loss.

“It’s quite depressing when you see social media posts [on WeChat] trying to sell a 48-square-metre [517 sq ft] apartment for only about 600,000 yuan (US$88,640). I spent more than 1 million yuan for the same type of unit in 2016,” Li said, referring to her teahouse, which she was forced to close as Chinese people left Johor, leaving her with few customers.

If the US and China go to war, whose side is Southeast Asia on?

Whether to sell their property in Johor at a loss has become a worrisome topic of conversation among Li and her fellow middle-class friends who bought Malaysian property in the last few years.

“I once thought assets here would appreciate, and the tea cafe would be full of the growing number of new arrivals of Chinese. But it’s so different from what I expected,” she said.

Wendy Wu, a Beijing resident who also invested in property in Johor, is also worried amid the increasingly murky outlook.

“No new Chinese investor will come to buy property here if there’s no long-stay visa guarantee,” Wu said from Johor.

Migrating Hongkongers lose an exit as Malaysia My Second Home scheme suspended

Between 2002 and 2018, the MM2H programme resulted in the approval of 43,943 visa applications from 131 countries and territories – and about 30 per cent involved mainland Chinese residents. But that door is closed now. When and if it will reopen is anyone’s guess.

According to the Malaysian My Second Home Consultants Association, 90 per cent of the applications they submitted between September and November 2019 – even before the emergence of the coronavirus – were rejected without any reasons or justifications.

Wu added that the pandemic and worsening relations between China and other countries have led to concerns about how safe it is to be living overseas.

Migrating Hongkongers lose an exit as Malaysia’s MM2H scheme put on ice

Many Chinese students studying in Johor’s international schools also returned to China amid the outbreak.

For Li, those schools were among the enticing elements of life in Malaysia. Four years ago, when she first visited Johor on a free “investment tour” with a number of other middle-class Chinese residents looking to buy property, the region seemed like the perfect fit for their dreams of owning a home overseas and providing their children international educations.

Back then, China’s overseas investment was still booming among mainland enterprises as well as rich and middle-class individuals. Besides Li, a large number of Chinese middle-class citizens were attracted by the tropical environment and clean air. Many put money down on a new home during their first trip to Johor, especially after learning that the average property prices there were about a quarter of those in downtown Beijing.

Most of these Chinese individual investors are not prepared – financially or psychologically – for the risks of overseas investment

Simon Zhao

Buying a home abroad was seen as a short cut to a better life for Chinese families. Not only did people see an asset that would appreciate over time, they were also enticed by a tropical environment that appeared to be conducive to raising a family, while still being relatively close to mainland China and Singapore.

Simon Zhao, an associate dean with BNU-HKBU United International College’s Division of Humanities and Social Sciences, says the scale of Chinese middle-class investments overseas has dropped sharply due to the pandemic, particularly as the spending power of many people has taken a big hit in the economic downturn.

“Most of these Chinese individual investors are not prepared – financially or psychologically – for the risks of overseas investment,” Zhao said. “They have experienced only economic growth and a booming property market on the mainland for decades, and they lack the funds and risk awareness to deal with the downside [of the economic cycle].” — South China Morning Post