These Chinese firms were 2018’s biggest real estate sellers

HNA Group accounted for half of the top 10 dispositions this year

HNA's Adam Tan
HNA's Adam Tan

Under pressure from the Chinese government to unload assets, HNA Group sold more overseas real estate than any other Chinese company in 2018.

HNA was the No. 1 seller among China’s big four conglomerates of Anbang Insurance Group, Fosun International, and Dalian Wanda Group, Bloomberg reported. The company accounted for five of the 10 largest property disposals of the year.

On the top of the list of deals was a huge plot of land at the site of the former Kai Tak airport in Hong Kong, which HNA sold in February for $2 billion to Henderson Land Group.

In New York, HNA sold 1180 Sixth Avenue to Northwood Investors for $305 million. It also sold a stake in 245 Park Avenue to SL Green Realty for $148.2 million. Since January, Chinese companies have sold $12.3 billion worth of properties, up from $5.3 billion the year before, according to Real Capital Analytics.

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The top buyer of Chinese assets, meanwhile, have been American investors. They bought $5.1 billion worth of real estate from Chinese firms, or more than 40 percent of all their deals.

Despite the broader selloff, Chinese companies still hold a number of assets, such HNA’s remaining stake in 245 Park Avenue, and Anbang’s Waldorf Astoria Hotel.

Experts are predicting the selling will continue in the new year.

“The ongoing uncertainties of the trade conflict will put pressure on foreign reserves and the value of the yuan, so capital controls will most likely continue in 2019,” CBRE’s Tom Moffat, head of the company’s Asian capital markets based in Hong Kong, told Bloomberg. That will mean ongoing “selective disposals from Chinese investors, whether they’re looking to strengthen their balance sheets or realize a decent profit from their early investments.” [Bloomberg]Rich Bockmann