Property investors are pencilling "Second half, 2009" in their diaries as the likely time to start pouring money into the mainland again as they search for bargains in its ailing real estate market.

But they are wary of slowing economic growth, overbuilding in some areas, difficult partnerships with developers and red tape.

Private equity fund manager Gaw Capital Partners is looking to raise up to US$1.5 billion for mainland property, and ING Real Estate is marketing a US$750 million fund it wants to launch in the first quarter of next year.

"I think it's a good time to start looking," said Goodwin Gaw, co-founder of Gaw Capital, which manages US$4.7 billion of assets in 14 mainland projects. "2009 and early 2010 could be a sweet spot."

South China Morning Post