Realtors: No immediate impact from election either way

Updated: 2016-11-02 10:57

By Amy He in New York(China Daily USA)

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The outcome of the US presidential election will most likely not have a huge immediate impact on Chinese investment in the US real estate market, though a Hillary Clinton win could bring a continuation of current trends and a Donald Trump victory would be filled with unknowns, real estate professionals said.

"As a president, [Trump's] ability to impact the real estate industry I think is muted. There's one big area that he can potentially impact and that's how depreciation is dealt with, but I don't think anybody's going to touch that, so from the perspective of New York real estate, I don't think it's going to matter that much," said Joseph Yi, chief investment officer at Real Hospitality Group.

Yi said that there has been a lot of anti-China rhetoric - about lack of fair trade between the US and China, about currency manipulation - but that it's hard to tell how much of that will go away once either candidate is in office.

Jonathan Miller, president and CEO of Miller Samuel Real Estate Appraisers, said that the only impact will be a slight uptick in sales immediately following the election since the uncertainty of the presidential race will be over.

"I don't think the party or the candidate matters. It's the layer of uncertainty right now, because it's been a very contentious election. In 2012, a similar thing happened, but now it's more extreme," he said.

Miller said presidential candidates can't do 98 percent of what they're saying. So when it gets down to the actual "down and dirty of getting things done," he said doesn't see either candidate affecting huge change.

Yi, Miller and other real estate professionals spoke to China Daily on the sidelines of an Asia-focused real estate seminar held by the Asian Real Estate Association of America (AREAA) on Tuesday at the Roosevelt Hotel in New York.

Their comments reflect similar responses made by Chinese investors and US-based real estate agents in a recent survey conducted by Asian real estate listings website A majority of both groups of respondents said they don't expect any impact on Chinese investment strategies with either a Trump or Clinton presidency, though real estate agents were more likely to believe that a Trump presidency will lead to significant impact on Chinese investment.

The survey also found that the Chinese investors and the US real estate agents were almost equally divided on whether a Clinton or Trump presidency will better implement policies that benefit them: 55 percent of the agents said Trump will; 54 percent of the investors chose Clinton.

Real estate professionals interviewed by China Daily at the AREAA event said that a Clinton administration would have policies similar to those of the current Obama administration.

David Sturner, COO of MHP Real Estate Services, said Clinton could potentially implement policies that are beneficial to Chinese investors given her history in government.

"She approved the original trade deals and she'll be in a better position to change them in certain aspects that didn't work out as she had thought they would. And she's made that comment, that she would pull back in certain areas and put more restrictions," he said.

Trump is harder to pin down because his "business practices have not been in accordance with his policy," so it's hard to tell where he stands, Sturner said.

Arthur Hung, a broker with Sotheby's International Realty, said that investors want to invest in a market that they know and can predict, and that's what a Clinton presidency would bring.