Real estate mergers, acquisitions driving fast growth

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The trade value of real estate mergers and acquisitions in China totaled $81 billion in 2017, up 30.6 percent over a year ago, and the growth is attributed to achieving economies of scale, acquiring land reserves, as well as diversifying and transforming growth models, a report said.

The report published Thursday by the accounting firm PwC, also known as PricewaterhouseCoopers, said 482 real estate merger and acquisition deals were recorded in China last year, up 6.4 percent year-on-year, and major real estate developers continued to grow rapidly in 2017 as industrial concentration intensified.

The report, named the Real Estate M&A 2017 Review, said the sales value of the top 20 property developers accounted for one-third of the country's total, up 7.3 percentage points from 2016.

"The real estate industry has seen apparent economies of scale, and M&A is one key way companies can quickly achieve considerable growth," said Franklin Zhai, PwC China deals real estate partner.

In terms of regions, the area with the largest value of real estate M&A transactions was Guangdong province, with its sales value surging 111 percent year-on-year to $19 billion, followed by Beijing, Shanghai and Zhejiang province.

In comparison Chinese outbound real estate M&As only chalked up 46 transactions in 2017, nearly half the amount of 2016. However, the total outbound transaction value exceeded $50 billion, or 3.5 times that of the year before.

"With the market concentration level rising further in China, large-sized and fast growing medium-sized real estate companies are expected to dominate the market share. From a global perspective, with strategic opportunities arising from the Belt and Road Initiative, new city development in Southeast Asia and other developing countries, as well as urban complex construction, outbound M&A transactions will likely return to a trajectory of growth," said Zhai.

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