March 4, 2020 / 11:32 AM / 3 months ago

Property investors stick with China despite virus outbreak, survey shows

Workers walk past a construction site of residential buildings by property developer Country Garden in Kunming, Yunnan province, China September 17, 2019. REUTERS/Wong Campion/Files

HONG KONG (Reuters) - Property investors are committed to projects in mainland China despite the coronavirus outbreak though some said they may delay decision-making or renegotiate terms, a survey by a leading real estate services company showed on Wednesday.

More than 60% of the 122 foreign and domestic property investment companies surveyed by Cushman & Wakefield (C&W) expect investment activities to rebound within six months after the epidemic ends, it found.

All the respondents said they would not give up the investment projects because of the virus outbreak, though 69% said they would delay the decision making, and 11% said they would renegotiate the terms.

The virus has killed more than 2,900 people in mainland China, disrupted global supply chains and fuelled fears of a slowdown in economic growth.

Over 90% of the respondents in the C&W survey said they planned to invest in Shanghai or Beijing in the next 12 months, among which all of the foreign firms said they would invest in Shanghai during the period. Domestic firms said they would focus more on second-tier cities.

Some 74% said they would keep about the same investment budget as 2019, while 15% said they planned a bigger budget. Offices are still the most favoured asset class, but logistics properties and data centres may see more investment due to the rise in demand amid the epidemic, they said.

The 122 companies C&W surveyed included 63 foreign and 55 domestic ones. The respondents comprised property funds, developers, insurers and individual investors.

Separately, another property consultancy Colliers also said on Wednesday it expected a rapid recovery in investment sentiment in the second half if the virus outbreak peaks in the first six months. It said logistics warehouses and data centres would benefit as the epidemic boosted online shopping.

Reporting by Clare Jim; Editing by Emelia Sithole-Matarise

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