Chinese property purchasing interest in Australia collapses: FIRB data

Chinese property purchasing interest in Australia collapses: FIRB data
Chinese property purchasing interest in Australia collapses: FIRB data

Official FIRB data has confirmed a collapse in approvals for foreign investment in Australia’s housing market.

The Foreign Investment Review Board’s annual report reveals a 67 per cent fall in residential real estate approvals last financial year — down from 40,149 approvals to just 13,198 approvals.

The value of FIRB approvals fell from $72.4 billion to $25.2 billion in fiscal 2017.

The large numbers of residential foreign buyers from the boom of 2012-17 are unlikely to be repeated, a UBS report tips.

During 2016–17, 1,669 residential real estate compliance cases were identified for investigation (down from 2,104 cases in 2015-16). Of these, 1,409 investigations were completed (1,637 in 2015–16), which identified 549 properties acquired in breach of Australia’s foreign investment rules (up from 260). There were 96 residential properties divested by foreign persons (up from 54 in 2015–16) totalling nearly $97 million.

Victoria is the most popular state for residential real estate approvals, followed by New South Wales, with these two states accounting for 73% of all such approvals.

Queensland accounts for 18%, Western Australia for 5%, South Australia for 3%, and the Australian Capital Territory for 1%.

Chinese investors were again the largest source of foreign investment approvals by both value ($38.9 billion) and number (9,714) in 2016–17.  

China continued to be the largest source of foreign investment associated with approvals for residential real estate.

Carrie Law, CEO and Director of Juwai.com, the No. 1 Chinese international real estate website and the exclusive international real estate partner to Chinese online giant Tencent, said the period saw half years "like night and day" in terms of Chinese investment.

"In the second half of 2016, Chinese investment were investing in Australian real estate at an almost irrational pace.

"It was like money falling from heaven for vendors and developers.

"In early 2017, capital controls, financing restrictions, and foreign buyer taxes reduced Chinese investment to more reasonable levels," Law suggested.

 “Since November 2017, we seem to have entered a period of more sustainable long-term growth. Chinese buying enquiries for Australian property in March were 5.7% higher than the month before and in Aprilthey were 22.3% higher.

Chinese property purchasing interest in Australia collapses: FIRB data 

Law added that China’s capital controls have worked.

Today, China’s foreign reserves are up, the Yuan is stronger, the flow" of money out of the country has been reduced, and fears of a devaluation have virtually disappeared.

"But they have succeeded without having to make it impossible for ordinary Chinese families to buy property overseas."

Recent research reports that a majority of Chinese households intend to increase their offshore investments in the coming two years, with real estate the asset class most favoured by outbound investors.

 

Chinese property purchasing interest in Australia collapses: FIRB data 

“The big declines are partly due to lower demand, and mostly due to the changed application fees.”

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Chinese property purchasing interest in Australia collapses: FIRB data

 Considering just commercial real estate investment from all nations, approvals dropped from $50 billion to $44 billion.

The FIRB reports that one reason for the decrease in approvals for commercial property is that under the new China-Australia Free Trade Agreement, Chinese investors no longer need request investment approval before purchasing developed commercial property worth less than $1.094 billion. 

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Chinese Buyers Juwai

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