Chinese insurance companies will be allowed to invest directly in commercial real estate for the first time under new regulations that could trigger an influx into the country’s high-end property market.

Details on investment limits and what types of property insurers can buy will not be released for another month at least, regulatory officials say.

Conservative estimates put the amount of potential investment by Chinese insurers in commercial property at $34bn (£21.3bn), according to Jones Lang Lasalle.

Based on current average capital values, $34bn is equal to more than twice the value of the Shanghai Grade A office market.

China’s high-end, investment grade market has seen an average investment of just $8.5bn in each of the past two full years and it has been falling since the end of last year as a result of the financial crisis.

Financial Times