Asian buyers vital to Australian property market: Morry Schwartz

Asian buyers vital to Australian property market: Morry Schwartz
Asian buyers vital to Australian property market: Morry Schwartz

Asian buyers are vital to the success of future residential developments and developers must engage with them, says Morry Schwartz, head of Melbourne-based property developer Pan Urban

Speaking to Property Observer, Schwartz says Chinese buyers from countries like Malaysia and Indonesia see a country like Australia as a safe haven for the long term. 

“Sometimes Chinese people who are living in Malaysia or Indonesia feel slightly insecure about buying where they live because there may be anti-Chinese sentiment in those countries,” he says. 

Schwartz also believes Australia offers a more stable investment option than mainland China. 

“In mainland China there is a strange political combination of capitalism in a socialist environment, not necessarily the most stable. 

“People, who have wealth – some of them great wealth – worry about nationalism,” he says. 

Furthermore, while Australian investors tend to be more insular in nature and are not inclined to buy an apartment in Hong Kong, Schwartz says Asian buyers don’t think it’s strange to buy in countries like Australia or Canada. 

“And there is the education factor. Parents like to buy an apartment for their child who is studying at RMIT,” he says. 

His comments following the launch of Juwai.com, promoted as the world’s largest international property search and information platform for Mandarin-speaking Chinese consumers. 

The site has more than 1 million property listings from over 80,000 agents and developers in the US, Australia, Canada, the United Kingdom and Japan. 

Schwartz says there a “huge need” for such a site. 

“Australian agents are looking for buyers, and Chinese buyers want to spend billions on Australian property. But getting the two groups together before Juwai cost a fortune. 

“Agents had to travel to China for property expos, hire Mandarin-speaking staff or to split their commissions with Chinese agents — none of which is affordable in this marketplace. 

Taken as a group, local and offshore Asian buyers currently account for about 60% of enquiries and purchases at Pan Urban's developments – “up substantially from a few years ago,” Schwartz says. 

Schwartz says one- and two-bedroom apartments appeal to Asian buyers because they are more affordable. 

“They like urban and inner-city apartments and also buy in areas such as Doncaster and Springvale where local Chinese communities are based,” he says. 

Pan Urban’s major Melbourne project is the Lacrosse in Docklands, featuring two intersecting apartment blocks currently under construction. 

The majority of the 312 apartments in stage one of the development have already sold, with many sold to Asian buyers. Stage two, comprising 259 apartments, is also expected to attract strong interest from Asian buyers. 

Schwartz says Australian developers and agents are gaining a stronger understanding of the Chinese markets. 

“There is a moving together from two directions. 

"You are not doing a good job at selling real estate in Australia today if you're not marketing to the Chinese buyer,” he says.

Larry Schlesinger

Larry Schlesinger

Larry Schlesinger was a property writer at Property Observer

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