Who is Auction.com Partnering with Now?

Auction.com is continuing to expand real estate ownership opportunities in the United States for Chinese investors with this new partnership.
Tim Morse

Tim Morse, Auction.com

Auction.com is continuing to expand real estate ownership opportunities in the United States for Chinese investors by agreeing to a co-marketing partnership with AREAA Global, a subsidiary of the Asian Real Estate Association of America.

“As the only business-trade organization focused extensively on facilitating international partnerships between real estate professionals in the U.S. and Asian investors overseas, AREAA Global is the ideal partner for us in this endeavor,” Auction.com CEO Tim Morse said in a joint news release.

The initiative calls for California-based Auction.com and AREAA Global to work together to connect Chinese investors interested in buying U.S. commercial real estate with Chinese-speaking brokers and agents who have been trained how to execute transactions on the Auction.com platform.

The deal with AREAA Global comes about a month after Auction.com, the leading online real estate marketplace, partnered with Juwai.com, the top Chinese international property portal, to bring American CRE auctions to investors from China. The U.S. real estate listings from Auction.com will be available to Juwai.com’s 2.6 million Chinese-speaking users in mainland China, Hong Kong, Singapore and around the world. The partnership covers CRE listings but U.S. residential homes may be added in the future, the companies said in late May.

In the co-marketing partnership with AREAA Global, Auction.com will work closely with the association to guide interested buyers coming from Juwai.com through the transaction process and provide training for AREAA Global professionals on its online platform. AREAA Global will establish a fully-licensed consulting service to qualify and send customer inquiries to the trained CRE agents who will work with the investors.

“Our mission is to make it easier for people to buy and sell real estate online. Providing local market, Chinese-speaking real estate experts will help Chinese investors make informed buying decisions and gain a better understanding of Auction.com’s transaction process,” Morse said in the release.

AREAA Global Chair Allen Chiang said the association was excited to work with Auction.com to increase Chinese investments in U.S. commercial real estate opportunities, which have been growing in the past few years. JLL’s Hotels & Hospitality Group reports that through May of this year Asian investors had made $2.3 billion just in U.S. hotel purchases and that number was expected to reach $5 billion by year’s end. Among the high-profile Chinese investors was Anbang Insurance Co. Ltd., which acquired the Waldorf Astoria New York from Hilton Worldwide Holdings Inc., for $1.95 billion in October. Bloomberg.com reported that Chinese investors have spent $39 billion in global real estate purchases in the six years ending in 2014. Experts say the numbers are increasing partly due to changing rules on overseas investments, particularly for Chinese insurance companies.

“As the world’s largest investor in U.S. commercial residential and now commercial business, Chinese investors are becoming a critical part of ensuring strong demand and consistent capital flow for U.S. real estate,” Chiang said in the release. “Through this partnership, we can benefit both U.S.-based sellers and buyers from China by leveraging a world-class online auction platform.”

Auction.com is having a busy summer with its traditional as well as several custom auctions scheduled for this month that is expected to feature $300 million in U.S. commercial real estate offerings. The biggest custom auction is a $100 million office complex in Manhattan Beach, Calif., but the company has planned custom auctions for three multi-family properties as well. The custom auctions are single-property/portfolio events for high-value properties, such as the office complex and the apartment properties in Reno, Orlando and Phoenix.

Other big announcements by Auction.com include naming Morse, a former Yahoo! Inc. CFO, as the company’s new CEO, and a partnership with Situs, a firm that provides due diligence services for properties on the platform.