Corcoran partners with Juwai for exposure in China

Deal comes amid reported slowdown in capital flight from the country

Pam Liebman and the Chinese flag
Pam Liebman and the Chinese flag

New York real estate brokerages continue to tout their ties to China, even as China continues to sharply limit how much money its citizens can move out of the country.

The Corcoran Group [TRDataCustom] has inked a deal with, the so-called Zillow of China, to display its listings on the company’s website, Corcoran CEO Pam Liebman told The Real Deal. The move is designed to help Corcoran agents garner exposure for their listings in the Chinese market.

As part of the deal, Juwai will also help Corcoran build out its official WeChat channel, allowing the company to easily chat with prospective homebuyers in China, as well as translate its listings and send a representative to train its agents in best practices in the Chinese market.

“China is a very important market we want to serve properly and with the respect and attention it deserves,” Liebman said. “China’s not a hit-and-run. There are people who will visit once and think they’re building a business there, but they’re not.”

Matthew Moore, Juwai’s president of the Americas, said Chinese buyers still favor properties located in New York.

“It’s a strategic alignment as many Chinese consider New York the most exciting and highly attractive city in North America as evidenced by Chinese investment in New York properties’ significant rise over the past five years,” he said in a statement.

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Between 2011 and 2016, direct investments in the U.S. from China exploded, with more than $28 billion in residential real estate sold to Chinese buyers, according to the Asia Society.

Corcoran is just the latest firm to strive to tap the market for buyers. Residential brokerage CORE and commercial brokerage JLL formed an exclusive partnership to market CORE’s new development projects to the pan-Asian market in September.

But, the dramatic flight of capital from China may be slowing, as the Chinese government clamps down amid worries of currency devaluation, according to recent reports. Chinese banks have reportedly been instructed to close loopholes that allow citizens to avoid capital controls dictating that they can take only $50,000 out of the country at a time.

The effect of President-elect Donald Trump’s relationship with China on capital flows also remains to be seen. Trump has labeled China a “currency manipulator,” saying it over-taxes American products.

But Liebman said she’s seen no effect of the clampdown so far.

“They’re the most influential international buyer that we see and their presence keeps increasing,” she said. “We hear all that talk [of a clampdown] but we haven’t seen a slowdown.”