Chinese buyers are reported to be snapping up some of the best luxury properties in Sydney including big homes on the harbor, and new condominium developments. This is not a new development. It is a news development for idle reporters scratching for copy.
Real estate brokers and developers said Chinese buyers are most interested in hot properties in the inner-city and by the beach. As it happens, they have been for the last 14 years. However, bit of a burst hapening at the moment, for they are now attracted by new foreign ownership rules, a favorable exchange rate and the relative (tricky use of the word) stability of the Australian property market.
After the UK and New Zealand, China is third in the lineup of countries that sends immigrants to Australia. Last financial year, more than 70,000 Chinese arrived in Australia to live permanently, including a steady stream of business migrants and a growing number of students. And they are very welcome. There appears to be little of the racism that so mars other countries. At the moment the writer is seeing a group of specialists at two hospitals in Sydney. All bar one is Chinese. They are all extremely professional, well trained, caring and polite.
Tim Lawless, national research director at RP Data, a property and analytics information company said, "In many cases, Chinese immigrants to Australia are buying into key lifestyle markets, which are characterized as being close to the ocean or within the inner-city."
Raine and Horne, an Australian real estate agency said interest from the Chinese mainland picked up by about 15% at the beginning of 2009.
In March, Australia’s Foreign Investment Review Board (FIRB) introduced changes to rules governing foreign buyers, including that all apartments in new projects can be sold to foreigners. Previously, only half the apartments in a development could be sold to overseas buyers.
Student visa holders who live in Australia are no longer limited to spending only $300,000 on a property.
Note this must be kept in perspective. The real estate market is still on its knees in Australia and anything that looks like good news is played to the hilt. So, yes, some Chinese are buying high end properties but, by and large, this is not overly affecting the real estate market in Australia. It is still in the doldrums.
China Daily reports that Wendy Searle, a spokeswoman for Di Jones real estate, which is a company well known for its media connections, said most Chinese are discreet buyers. She said, "You only get to know they have purchased by looking at completion records, available after a sale. It is said in some circles that a majority of houses with the best Sydney harbor views will be owned by Chinese people in a few years."
Prases like "it is said in some circles" are known in newpapers as weasel terms. They have no statistical backing and normally turn out to be total nonsense..
In Australia, housing prices fell by just 3.8% during the 2008 downturn and have since recovered during the first half of 2009.
The ‘Chinese effect’ on the majority of properties sold in Australia is minimal. Possibly at the high end but that is not a new story.