Chinese investors are keeping unchanged or even reducing the amount of money they allocate for overseas property purchases as they continue to struggle to get money out of the country, according to a survey conducted by a global real estate services company.
That comes amid China's continued campaign to clamp down on funds leaving the country. Beijing ramped up capital controls several years ago to fight a volatile currency, but the last few months of slowing economic growth, a declining current account surplus and uncertainty due to the trade war with the United States have led many to believe those measures will persist.
On top of that, it became increasingly difficult for investors to obtain loans last year as Beijing sought to control the high levels of debt in the real estate sector.
In its 2019 China Outbound Real Estate Investor Intention Survey conducted during the final three months of last year, Cushman & Wakefield found that a combined 84 percent of respondents had either kept their funds for foreign real estate acquisitions at about the same level or reduced them compared with 2017.
The firm said the results, released Friday, were based on responses from 51 mainland Chinese who invest in overseas real estate and who represent combined offshore capital of 280 billion yuan ($41.81 billion).
The survey also found that 65 percent of respondents were "significantly or severely impacted" by Beijing's measures to crack down on money leaving the country, an increase from 50 percent who expressed such a view in 2017.
Also, 60 percent of respondents said they didn't think policy restrictions would ease this year while 59 percent expressed the view that domestic lending conditions for real estate won't improve.
Chinese investors acquired a total of $15.7 billion worth of overseas real estate in 2018, down 63 percent from 2017 and the lowest figure since 2014, according to data from Real Capital Analytics cited in the Cushman & Wakefield report.