City skyline views in San Francisco, California, U.S. (Photographer: David Paul Morris/Bloomberg)

China Ousted as Asia's No. 1 Buyer of U.S. Commercial Property

(Bloomberg) -- Singapore ousted China to become the biggest Asian investor in U.S. commercial property last year.

It was the first time since 2012 that the city outspent China, according to data from Real Capital Analytics and Cushman & Wakefield Inc. Deals by Chinese investors plunged 66 percent to $5.9 billion as regulators cracked down on capital outflows.

China Ousted as Asia's No. 1 Buyer of U.S. Commercial Property

“We expect Singapore to continue to be the single largest source of Asian investments in the U.S. real estate markets,” said Priyaranjan Kumar, Cushman’s regional executive director of capital markets for Asia Pacific, adding that money may flow into data centers, student accommodation and logistics.

Sovereign wealth fund GIC Pte accounted for almost three-quarters of the $9.5 billion of Singaporean purchases, investing in properties including 60 Wall Street in Manhattan, which houses the U.S. headquarters of Deutsche Bank AG, and a portfolio of student accommodation.

Real estate firm CBRE Group Inc. anticipates similar trends in 2018, with Singapore’s institutional investors diversifying abroad and China maintaining capital controls, said Yvonne Siew, executive director for capital advisory, Asia Pacific.

Some of the largest Singaporean investments in the U.S. last year are listed below.

BuyerDealAmount ($)
GICAcquisition of Monogram Residential Trust, through its stake in a Greystar fund4.4 billion
GIC95% stake in 60 Wall Street (Deutsche Bank HQ)988 million
GICAcquisition of a portfolio of 24 student accommodation assets with CPPIB and The Scion Group1.1 billion
Mapletree Investments/ Mapletree Industrial TrustAcquisition of a portfolio of student accommodation assets – 30% stake750 million
Source: Cushman & Wakefield

Besides GIC, the Singaporean buyers of U.S. properties included developers, real estate investment trusts and logistic companies. Singapore was No. 3 in the global rankings for U.S. buys after Canada and France.

Singapore’s investments in commercial property globally rose by about 40 percent to $28.4 billion last year, beating a record set in 2015, according to the data, which include land as well as developed properties.

China Ousted as Asia's No. 1 Buyer of U.S. Commercial Property

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