China’s first nine real estate investment trusts (Reits), launched as a pilot scheme, were greeted with enthusiasm by investors on Monday. The tranches offered to the general public were all oversubscribed on the first day of the offering, according to sources close to the Shanghai and Shenzhen stock exchanges. The subscription is expected to end on Wednesday. Currently, only infrastructure companies are allowed to launch Reits. Property developers could be allowed to do so soon, depending on the success of the pilot. “The first nine Reits, which carry low risks and generate long-term stable returns, have obviously attracted thousands of individual investors,” said Wang Feng, chairman of Shanghai-based financial services company Ye Lang Capital. “New investment products always trigger buying sprees [in mainland China] during trading debuts, because investors believe the first batch of products or companies are the best in terms of fundamentals,” he added. Beijing has been considering Reits since 2012, with the aim of creating a new financing source for developers. China’s debt-fuelled property market boom over the past decade has sparked concern about housing bubbles. Monday’s launch also gives these developers a way to ease their debt burden by letting them raise funds while offloading part of their assets. The pilot scheme will be expanded to other property sectors after the first Reits prove to be successful, said George Xiong, an executive director with JLL China’s valuation service unit. “Reits are the favourite investment choice of investors with low-risk appetites,” he said. “The market potential in China will be huge.” The trust products pay investors dividends from rents earned by underlying properties. The Reits launched on Monday are aiming to raise a combined 34 billion yuan (US$5.3 billion). Among the Reits is one backed by investment in an expressway connecting Shanghai with the coastal city of Ningbo in China’s eastern Zhejiang province. Another is backed by a highway in western Chongqing municipality. Five of the trusts will be traded on the Shanghai bourse , while the remaining Reits will be listed in Shenzhen. Their launch increases the size of asset-backed securities in China, which are already worth more than 3 trillion yuan. “I expect an annual return of more than 4 per cent,” said Chen Qun, a retired worker who plans to invest 1 million yuan in the Reits. “Infrastructure projects are safe assets and worth investing in.” The nine Reits were given the go-ahead on May 17 by the China Securities Regulatory Commission, a year after the commission said it would implement a trial Reits programme. In 2014, Beijing allowed Citic Securities to launch a prototype product. Citic, mainland China’s largest brokerage, offered its Reit product through a private offering, but it could not be traded on the stock market.