China’s crackdown on property developers threatens the London property market.
Evergrande, the world’s most indebted developer, sparked fears across global markets as it missed a crucial interest deadline on its offshore debts. This week, another developer, Fantasia, defaulted on an offshore bond. A property consultant close to London’s development market was contacted in the wake of the Evergrande crisis by a UK regulator with concerns about the risks of contagion in London. “The big question is whether the Chinese will restrict investment overseas,” he said. “That would be a pretty big crisis in the UK and elsewhere.” Between 2013 and 2018, buyers from mainland China and Hong Kong poured close to £3.5bn into London, accounting for almost the entire flow of cross-border investment into the city’s land in 2017, according to Real Capital Analytics.
Thousands of high-end flats bankrolled by Chinese developers lie unfinished and unsold in Central London as Chinese developers come under pressure from the “three red lines” that seek to curb excessive leverage across the Chinese property sector by limiting the amount property companies can borrow. Could Evergrande impact global property prices?
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