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UK property developer taps Chinese market

Updated: 2013-10-25 17:27
By Cai Muyuan (

Chinese property investors are in a stage of going global in the next 10 years, according to Louis Bai, CEO of the Beijing office of Barratt Homes, one of the largest property developers in the UK.

Witnessing Chinese investors' growing interest in purchasing overseas housings, Barratt Homes beat its fellow competitors in the UK to cut the first slice of pie in the Chinese property market by establishing its office in Beijing last year.

UK property developer taps Chinese market

Gerold Thomas 

Talking about how Barratt Homes set its eyes on the Chinese market, Gerald Thomas, sales director of East London, said that China is a massive potential market where a lot of investors are looking to invest in the overseas market. "I think companies that don't see the situation will be left behind", according to Thomas.

Asian buyers accounted for 31 percent of investors in London's newly built homes in 2011, compared with 10 percent in 2008. "The overseas buyers are now mainly from the Chinese mainland in recent years while investors from Hong Kong and Singapore were taking the lead in buying properties in London in earlier years", said Bai.

As a consequence of not only China's soaring housing prices but also the government's curb on property ownership in the past two years, more Chinese investors are showing a keener interest in overseas properties.

"As one of the best international financial hubs, London attracts Chinese investors ranging from the highly affluent to the middle class. The whole property market is changing from a domestic-focused one to an international diversified market and through the globalization, more international buyers can afford to buy properties overseas as an investment vehicle," said Bai.

In its initial stage of building up the business in China, Barratt Homes' main goal is to attract individual investors as well as institutional investors in China.

"China and the UK have very tight links and one of them is education," said Thomas. "We see more and more Chinese parents are sending their children to study in London and investing in the property market. It is a very smart move as there's an undersupply in London's property market. In years, the return of this investment will be good enough to even pay for the children's education."

According to Bai, about 35 to 40 percent of Chinese investors who have invested in the London property market through Barratt Homes are individual buyers who look to send their children to study in London, and this number is still rising.

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