China's Big Deal
Chinese investors' love affair with U.S. hotels continues, as China's Anbang Insurance Group - owner of New York's Waldorf Astoria - has agreed to buy Strategic Hotels & Resorts for around $6.5 billion, from the Blackstone Group, which just acquired it last December for around $6 billion. The deal flip illustrates the global appeal of iconic hotels: the 16-property Strategic portfolio contains San Francisco's Westin St. Francis, two California Ritz-Carltons, and the Four Season Resort in Jackson Hole, Wyo. In 2015, hotel transactions were up 50 percent YOY to $86 billion, according to JLL. Predictions for this year temper a bit, with JLL projecting a $70 billion hotel transaction volume.
Markets to Watch
Once a country of home owners, the U.K. rental market has doubled in the past 25 years to almost 20 percent of country's housing market, according to a Standard & Poor's report, while supply of new rental units has fallen since the recession. However, new government incentive schemes are the main drivers behind the growing appetite for rental assets among institutional investors - recently pegged at around £30 billion of potential investment.