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New rules stem Chinese real estate investment in Canada

China’s restrictions on foreign real estate purchases sharply slowed Chinese investment in Canadian offices, hotels and other large properties late last year – even before Beijing’s dramatic seizure of Anbang Insurance Group, whose buying spree had driven up prices.

Since the Chinese government unveiled new rules in August to keep capital in the country, Chinese appetite for big property acquisitions has waned noticeably and the size of deals has shrunk, say deal makers in the sector.

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“We have seen a dramatic drop off since the summer of last year,” said Gary Morassutti, managing director with Royal Bank of Canada’s capital markets real estate group.

Before that, Anbang had paid $1.03-billion for the Bentall Centre office complex in Vancouver and $1-billion-plus for B.C. retirement homes. Leadon Investment Inc., an investment group with ties to Hong Kong, spent $1.1-billion on a package of hotels sold by B.C.’s public pension manager and China Minsheng Investment Group paid about $200-million in the acquisition of Grouse Mountain Resorts.

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