Australian property searches by Chinese buyers in the $5 million-plus range spiked in September 2015 at seven times higher for Melbourne homes compared with Sydney according to Juwai, the largest international property website for Chinese buyers. Juwai added that Melbourne showed more than 700% growth compared to Sydney which started the year with more premium property buyer interest.
The Department of Immigration statistics also reflect a preference for Melbourne over Sydney among applicants for the Significant Investor Visa. There were more applications lodged for Melbourne than Sydney.
Sydney’s lack of supply in the prestige market is a likely explanation for the growing discrepancy between the two cities, said AMP Capital chief economist Shane Oliver. According to CBRE chairman Justin Brown, Melbourne was a bigger market in terms of its Chinese buyers than Sydney thanks to more affordable off-the-plan apartments and because universities have been far more pro-active in terms of marketing themselves to China.
Residential tourism is happening in the Asia Pacific. Australia is fortunate because Melbourne has been classified as the most liveable city for the past five years and all this it is attracting a rich income group from Asia Pacific. Most Chinese buyers are driven by personal perspective, not investment. Chinese target western, developed countries because they want to have better living or for their children. It can also be seen as an efficient way of wealth preservation.
Chinese buyers heading to Australian shores value the cost of our properties (Australia is still relatively cheap compared to a lot of cities around the world), our good education system, quality of life, public security and clean air.
According to the Foreign Investment Review Board, Chinese investment into the Australian market is now officially the biggest source of approved foreign investment into the local real estate market – double the investment for the last financial year.
As we look to an ageing population and increasing cultural diversity, the future impact of the Chinese investment pattern is one that will felt on both sides of the ocean for generations to come.
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