Chinese and Indian design principles will shape Australia’s property markets: Bernard Salt

Chinese and Indian design principles will shape Australia’s property markets: Bernard Salt
Chinese and Indian design principles will shape Australia’s property markets: Bernard Salt

The growing numbers of Chinese and Indian migrants in Australia means property investors need to consider the cultural sensitivity of the residential property they purchase to ensure they maximise the resell value, says demographer Bernard Salt.

Speaking at the WBP Property Outlook breakfast last week, Salt said that during the past decade around 500,000 Indians and 500,000 Chinese migrants have moved to Australia.

Salt says these ethnicities are starting to “shape the Australian residential property market” in the same way that the arrival of Italian immigrants in the 1970s created the Anglo-European culture of eating out on the pavement, emulating the “piazza and the plaza”.

“I live in eastern suburbs in Camberwell. Our local Safeway closed in 1998 for about two weeks for renovations. When I went back there when it opened again, I saw something I had never seen before: an entire bay had been given over to bok choy.

“It is used in Vietnamese cooking. My point is the Vietnamese arrived in Australia in the mid-1980s. In a single decade such had been their impact that they had shifted the palate of mainstream Australia to the point that Woolies now stocks bok choy.

“Over the years Woolies has added pak choy, choy sum … a whole family of choys.

“The point is it was never the plan to sell bok choy to the Vietnamese, it was the business acumen of saying that the Asian influence will shift by osmosis the palate of ethnic Australia,” says Salt.

“How might these Asian influences shape the residential property market?

“The Chinese for instance believe in the principle of feng shui … that you don’t have the front door aligned with the back door, that’s bad energy because the energy goes straight through the house.”

Salt says while he and other property investors might not be swayed by feng shui now, if you want to maximise the resale value of your property in 2018 you must configure your property to reflect the principles of feng shui.

“We could find by osmosis that the Australian property industry could reflect or absorb the cultural preferences and predispositions of these ethnic influences,” he says.

Salt says a salesperson with a housing group in Canberra told him that Indians will always ask if the cooktop is facing east and don’t like their bedhead facing west because it’s the same direction they bury their dead.

These follows the ancient Hindu principles of Vaastu, which says that the kitchen should face south-east, the direction of the God of Fire. (For more on Vaastu click here).

Salt also says the children Chinese and Indian migrants are highly “aspirational” and will be looking to acquire properties in sought-after areas.

The principles of feng shui are also having an impact on the commercial property market, with Savills Australia agents Daniel Kelly and Lynton Williams recently negotiating a lease to a Chinese bathroom supplies importer and distributor for an office and warehouse in Noble Park.

The Savills agents said the tenant was “also interested in the buildings’ capacity to achieve the good fortune attributed to feng shui design criteria”.

Larry Schlesinger

Larry Schlesinger

Larry Schlesinger writes on real estate, specialising in commercial and residential property. Larry is based in Melbourne.

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