Asian investors invested around 368 million euros (501 million U.S. dollars) in the Spanish property market in the first half of 2014, according to information published on Friday by the Economic newspaper Expansion.
The figure has significantly increased in comparison with 2013 when they had invested 50 million euros in the whole year. In 2014 the figure could rise to 550 million euros, as there are several unfinished operations.
In 2013 there was only one important purchase in Spain: the Chinese Group GPRO bought the Valparaiso Hotel in Mallorca for 50 million euros.
In 2014, there were three important operations: the purchase of the emblematic Edificio Espana in Madrid by Chinese millionaire Wang Jianlin and the purchase of the Edificio Estel in Barcelona and the Palacio Casa del Conde de Cedillo in Madrid by businessman Harry Mohinami, who is based in Hong Kong.
The main investors are sovereign and pension funds such as Government of Singapore Investment Corporation (GIC), China Investment Corporation (CIC) and National Pension Service of South Korea.
The newspaper explained that "the surplus in several Asian countries has promoted the creation of large sovereign funds". There were also "legislative changes" that made it easier for investors to invest abroad, which could explain the increasing investment not only in Spain, but also in Europe.
"The prices of real estate assets in Spain are very attractive", Expansion said, and Asian sovereign funds know very well when they can invest, for instance, when prices have bottomed.
Housing prices in Spain have considerably dropped after the housing bubble burst in the country and the real estate sector was one of the most affected by the economic recession.
Spain left economic recession behind in the third quarter in 2013 and the government expects a 1.2 percent growth for this year.