Mortgage Observer

Year in Review: 2014

Illustrations by Chris Morris.

It was another year of highs, lows and mammoth deals. While concerns about the Ebola epidemic and increasing violence abroad rattled markets in 2014, the year nonetheless brought jobs growth, rising stocks and an improved real estate market to the U.S. Of course, the specter of China’s ascendance, a double-edged sword for the American economy, is a wild card. China overtook the U.S. as the world’s largest economy in 2014, and at the same time Chinese investments in U.S. real estate reached an all-time high. Read More

Mortgage Observer

Elevated Expectations in India

Sam Chandan.

Chinese President Xi Jinping travelled to India in mid-September with a stated goal of bolstering political and trade ties between the world’s two most populous nations.

The relationship between the countries has always been uneasy. In the modern era, their territorial and geo-political ambitions have rarely found alignment; as they have jockeyed for regional influence, friction over issues such as the disputed territories of Kashmir and India’s easternmost frontier with Tibet have stymied efforts at cooperation elsewhere. Even as the pomp of the latest state visit was getting underway, Indian and Chinese troops were posturing on their respective sides of the shared Himalayan border. And though there was no indication of conflict in New Delhi’s more civilized environs, the leaders did agree that the region would be well served by an updated perspective on these sources of conflict. Read More

Mortgage Observer

East West Bank Poised to Profit as Chinese Money Pours Into the U.S.

From left: Richard Grani, Wendy Cai-Lee and Derrick Do. (Photo by Michael Hicks)

Wendy Cai-Lee, born in Shanghai, stands in front of a contemporary Chinese mural made from gunpowder, discussing Bill and Melinda Gates’ social influence with two of her senior lenders, Derrick Do, born in Saigon, and Richard Grani, born in Brooklyn, N.Y.

“The Gates have enough money and power to bypass governments when they need to,” Ms. Cai-Lee tells her colleagues. Read More

Mortgage Observer

Chinese Firm Gets Financing for Brooklyn Condo Without J.V. Partner


A major Chinese investment firm has secured a loan from a U.S. lender to develop a large-scale residential real estate project in Brooklyn. But Xinyuan Real Estate Co. is taking a different tack from that of many foreign investors that have developed real estate in New York City: It is proceeding without a U.S.-based joint venture partner.

Xinyuan, through its U.S. real estate arm XIN Development, plans to build a seven-story condominium development in South Williamsburg, to be called Oosten, according to a representative for the firm. The project nabbed a $165 million loan from New York-based Fortress Investment Group, according to data provided by the real estate services firm Real Capital Analytics. Fortress did not respond to a request for comment. Read More

Cover Story

The Great Wall: The Hurdles U.S. Brokers Face in China


Shortly after a Chinese business tapped Studley’s newly opened Shanghai office to help it expand beyond the city and country and procure space in New York earlier this year, Yin Li, head of the brokerage firm’s China operations, hit a roadblock.

In line with standards in China, Ms. Li’s client was looking to sign a short-term two- or three-year lease, which New York landlords were reluctant to accommodate. Instead, Ms. Li convinced her client to seek out an alternative—a sublease deal.

Read More

Sales Beat

SL Green, Chinese Government, Follow Hipsters to Williamsburg

250 Bedford Avenue

First it was the hipsters.  Then it was China.  And now the city’s largest office landlord, SL Green Realty Corp., is finally seeing promise in the residential development of Williamsburg, Brooklyn.

The real estate investment trust and commercial real estate giant announced this morning that it has agreed to purchase a newly completed, vacant residential building in the hip-turned-posh Brooklyn neighborhood — the company’s first foray into Brooklyn’s residential market.

Information in a prepared statement sent by the company suggests that the address is 250 Bedford Avenue, though it was not specified. Read More