Chinese interests in Australian property rev up as Chinese New Year looms

23 Jan 04:55 PM
Su-Lin Tan - Financial Review
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Australian property agents are gearing up for a busier Chinese property buying spree this year when Chinese New Year holidays kick in on Saturday, a survey by Chinese property portal Juwai.com has found.

Of the agents surveyed 52 per cent said they had more inquiries from Chinese travellers interested in buying Australian real estate compared to last year, an encouraging finding given that increased forex and capital controls in China and lack of funding in Australia had already slowed down the number of Chinese transactions in the past year by up to 50 per cent.

Selling agents usually targeted Chinese buyers this time of year when most Chinese citizens get their longest break – about 10 days starting this weekend – and when most travel overseas.

Additionally, half of those travelling overseas said they would "engage in property hunting in the country they were holidaying in", and nearly all of them said they would consider closing a deal during the holidays.

"Overall, a majority of agents expect this year to be a busier holiday season than in 2016," Juwai.com chief executive Charles Pittar said.

"It depends on the type of product they're selling and the location. Generally, we find that the wealthier buyers are more likely to combine property hunting with tourism during Chinese New Year.

"It's not always the case, but often we see a strong correlation between the countries they visit as tourists and the countries where they purchase property."

With Chinese tourism to Australia growing at a "blistering pace" rising 21 per cent over the year to September 2016 at 1.1 million visitors, according to Tourism Australia, the level of Chinese property investment looked set to be strong.

But chief executive of Australian-Chinese portal ACProperty.com.au and sister site Sodichan.com Esther Yong warned strong Chinese interests did not always end up in sales. Contrary to Juwai.com, Ms Yong has observed much less inquiries to her Australian listings, compared to last year.

"While the enthusiasm is there, when Chinese buyers realise the difficulty in getting funding many will take longer to commit," she said.

"And those who commit usually lean towards house and land packages, the "safer" product."

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http://www.afr.com/real-estate/chinese-interests-in-australian-property-rev-up-as-chinese-new-year-looms-20170112-gtq17k