Chinese appetite for Australian residential property hits $5.4 billion as demand for luxury property rises

Chinese appetite for Australian residential property hits $5.4 billion as demand for luxury property rises
Chinese appetite for Australian residential property hits $5.4 billion as demand for luxury property rises

The value of Australian residential property purchased by Chinese-based buyers reached $5.4 billion in the 2013 financial year, according to figures from Chinese property portal Juwai.com.

This is around a 25% increase on US$4 billion ($4 billion to $4.2 billion in local currency) of Australian property purchased by Chinese buyers in 2011.

"Chinese make up the fastest growing buyer group in an otherwise relatively slow Australian real estate market,” says Simon Henry, co-CEO of Juwai.com.

"The properties that will have the most success with Chinese buyers are located in major metropolitan areas or in growing mining areas, are working farms or are new developments.

"Resale properties appeal to Chinese buyers who know Australia already, including those who already have one or more properties here."

Dominic Ong who heads up a new Knight Frank team targeting high-net worth Chinese investors and those who may qualify for the $5 million significant investor visa, recently told Property Observer that he was regularly showing Asian-based buyers around some of the most expensive waterfront property in Sydney.

Ong says they are looking in the $30 million to $50 million price range.

“They want the best properties on the waterfront with a private jetty, harbour bridge view, swimming pool and many car parks.

“They want homes they can use for private functions and for entertaining,” he says.

Queensland remains a hotspot for Chinese residential investment.

According to the Foreign Ownership of Land Register, Chinese buyers are now the biggest foreign property buying group in the state.

Juwai records that the Chinese bought more than $530 million worth of Queensland property in the past three years and now own more Queensland real estate than buyers from any other foreign country with their rate of acquisition in dollar terms up almost 60% year-on-year.

Juwai.com claims that some Australian luxury properties receiving more views in China on its portal than on Australia’s biggest real estate portal, realestate.com.au.

Examples include a five bedroom property at 29 Norseman Court, Paradise Waters in Southport listed for $2.85 million through Gold Coast prestige property agent Dominique Corbett of Corbett & Co, which had 3,834 views on Juwai.com, nearly eight times more than the 484 views it has had on realestate.com.au.

Despite the interest, the property remains listed for sale and has been on the market since April 2011, according to RP Data. It is listed for auction this weekend through Renee Morgan of Executive Realtors - Broadbeach Water.

Dominique Corbett says her vendors increasingly ask her to list their properties valued at $6 million to $15 million or more on Juwai.com.

Other properties she has listed on Juwai.com have attracted four and five times as many hits on the Chinese portal compared with hits on realestate.com.au.

"Vendors believe the Chinese have the money for these properties right now, while Australians don't," she says.

“We also can act as a bespoke buying agent for private clients."

Corbett’s prestige listings on her website include a small Chinese flag, which links through to listings on Juwai.com. She has also visited China to meet up with potential buyers.

Juwai.com has teamed up with software provider Rex to assist Queensland agents and other listing their prestige offerings on the Chinese property portal.

It also recently signed a partnership in Australia with LJ Hooker, in Canada with the Real Estate Channel and in France with Previsite.

The June quarter NAB Residential Property survey found that the proportion of new houses and apartments being purchased by foreign buyers has doubled in the space of two years.

Foreign buyers now account for between 12% and 13% of all new residential property purchases, according to the views of around 300 property participants surveyed as part of the June quarter NAB residential property index.

“Asian investors (mainly Chinese) have been driving this trend according to the latest data from the Foreign Investment Review Board," says NAB chief economist Alan Oster.

“A number of factors are driving Chinese investment into Australian property, including initiatives to curb real estate speculation in China, diversification for Chinese property investors and immigration potential.”

'Beach' image courtesy of australia.com and has been digitally altered.

Larry Schlesinger

Larry Schlesinger

Larry Schlesinger was a property writer at Property Observer

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