Chinese property giant Country
Garden has set its sights on building tens of thousands of homes in London as
it looks to take advantage of the “golden opportunity” political uncertainty
provides for overseas capital, Property Week can reveal. The residential developer, the
third biggest in China by sales volume, has visited multiple agents in the
capital in recent weeks to discuss possible acquisitions as it gears up to take
advantage of reduced competition and potentially pour billions of pounds into
The company is understood to be
targeting land deals and regeneration sites in London and the commuter belt.
“They want to build new towns. It’s not just a few thousand houses,” a source
close to the company said.
Another source said the company
wanted to build schemes in the same style as its $100bn (£79bn) Forest City
project in Malaysia, where it is building homes for 700,000 people and expects
to invest $40bn.
A delegation of around 10 staff
from China, including senior Country Garden officials, visited the UK earlier
this month, the source confirmed.
“[Chinese developers] pretty much see Brexit as a golden
opportunity. They strongly believe in London and the UK, and Brexit
uncertainty stops many other potential competitors,” he told Property Week.
“They are very seriously looking
at London. They are exploring what’s likely to happen now after the triggering
of Article 50, what happens to the London property market, particularly
residential, and what the opportunities are for overseas investors.”
Country Garden did not discuss
its budget during the trip, he added. “But what they tend to do is buy
large-scale land. They prefer to do land promotion opportunities, so they don’t
normally pay a high price for land.”
It is understood that Country
Garden’s UK representatives, including UK investment manager Mr Yang Yang, used
to be based in Birmingham but now travel back and forth between the Midlands
city, London and China.
Country Garden has already
committed to developing sites in Birmingham, last year signing a statement of
investment commitment that the city council said could be worth up to £2bn to
the city’s economy. The firm currently operates in mainland China, Malaysia and
The news comes amid growing
Chinese interest in London residential. R&F Properties, a Guangzhou-based
firm, has led the charge, buying two sites in as many months: the Nestlé Tower and surrounding sites in Croydon for
£60m and Vauxhall Square, a mixed-use development in Nine Elms,