Wealthy Chinese investors are taking advantage of relaxed Australian foreign investor laws to buy property in Melbourne. Agents in Melbourne’s eastern suburbs have reported that many buyers are part-time residents from China, Hong Kong and other Asian countries like Taiwan. There is also an increase in Asian companies who buy property in Australia to accommodate their staff.
Last month a house in Balwyn sold for $1.838 million as a result of auctions that are being held in English and Mandarin. Company Marshall White in Armadale and Hawthorn are now sending their agents to Shanghai to look into possibilities to establish real estate offices there in order to attract more buyers from China.
Director John Bongiorno said: “The massive wealth that they’ve got is quite daunting in some instances. What’s attracting them is that there’s so much space here â€” it’s such a safe haven for them to park their money in terms of good real estate. It’s a safe lifestyle, great schooling for their children, no pollution and cheap property by their standards.”
The influx of overseas buyers increased when Australia changed their property laws late last year. Temporary residents to Australia (those that hold a temporary visa for 12 month of more) can now buy established homes and new property in the country. The same goes for those people who are currently holding a bridging visa.
Previously, buyers had to report to the Foreign Investment Review Board when they bought property Australia which ofgten took 30 days, making biding at auctions impossible. The new law also grants foreign companies to buy homes for their staff.
BCI International Consulting has been running organized property tours from China to Melbourne for a couple of years now. The tours run for groups of 15, bringing them to Melbourne to look into properties.
Mr Jan who works for BCI International Consulting said: “We find that there’s a bigger influx at the moment because of the change of laws and secondly the strength of the Chinese yuan against the Australian dollar.”
He also organizes Australian property exhibitions in China. On these exhibitions Mr Jan signs people up for these property tours to Australia. Due to the short-term stay of these wealthy buyers, the market is still alive and kicking, even at the top end. Chinese buyers are so keen to buy, they often don’t haggle and simply pay the price.
The main reason Chinese buyers have their eyes set to Down Under is to give their children a Western school education. The Chinese value good education and by establishing their base here they can take advantage of both cultures.
Many of Melbourne’s top schools are right in the City of Boroondara where most of the Chinese buy property. This has resulted in a boom of enrollments by international students in these schools.
Photo credits: pphw via flickr