Despite the restrictions, there is still interest among the Chinese buyers wanting to purchase properties in Australia and most do so during Lunar New Year holiday period which starts from January 28.
The celebration also marks the start of the period known as Chinese Lunar New Year Golden Week where Chinese workers often take holidays and head overseas some for ‘propidays’ or property-buying holidays.
Last year almost 600 million Chinese travelled during the Golden Week holidays to countries such as Thailand, Japan, the United States, Singapore, Australia, Malaysia, South Korea, Indonesia, the Philippines and Vietnam.
What’s happening in Australia
Melbourne-headquartered Investorist, the world’s first B2B off-the-plan property portal, said Chinese investors who visit Australia normally do so with the intentions of buying properties here and seek assets in well-located areas such as Melbourne, Sydney and Brisbane.
The look for properties that are either in the CBD area or within a 5 to 10 kilometres radius that is close to transport, schools and services.
“With our company’s strong presence in China, we engage with agents and investors on a daily basis, so despite some drop off in demand in 2016 caused by Chinese currency controls and bank lending restrictions, we know the Chinese still love to invest in Australian property and have strong motivations to do so,” Investorist founder and former Mirvac marketing manager Jon Ellis said.
Ellis said Chinese buyers are extremely savvy and are usually very well informed before committing to buy, so developers and sales agents should ensure they have all the project and price information readily available and up to date.
He said having Mandarin or Cantonese translations of marketing materials, and staff at displays who speak these languages was also helpful.
Melbourne-based Esther Yong, Managing Director of Sodichan & co-founder of AC Property told Elite Agent she has noticed a 20 percent drop in enquiries received from Chinese buyers in last six months but believes interest was still there and expects to close a few sales during the Chinese New Year holiday.
“The were a lot of people looking at properties in Australia the last time but not all bought, and now they know, and they are more ready and qualified person from China coming to buy properties in Australia as they know all the constraints before committing to buying here,” she said.
Yong said real estate companies wanting to capitalise on the Golden Week influx should facilitate interested Chinese investors with finance and money transferring partners as well.
“The appetite is there, but what is the difference now is that the calls up to the point of asking to actual sales have become longer, it is used to be a week but now takes between a month or two to get the admin stuff done,” she said.
Yong said despite the restrictions put in placed by the Chinese government regarding buying properties overseas; this has not hindered the Chinese from investing here.
“Chinese being Chinese they more you tell them not to do, the more creative they get,” she said.
Yong added Chinese investors were keen to purchase in big cities such as Sydney, Melbourne with a growing interest in the Gold Coast as well.
However, the majority were interested in owning a two-bedroom apartment in Melbourne with the price range of $700,000 to $800,000.
Victoria’s Raine & Horne Springvale principal Rosy Tran said most Chinese buyers who approached her about properties were very coy to say that they were from China.
Based on her experience Chinese buyers never revealed their true identity until at the very end when they actually do decide to go ahead with the purchase.
The Lunar New Year period for Tran has been busy with a lot of enquiries pouring in on her website which she suspects are from Chinese buyers interested in purchasing in Clayton.
“I just put an offer for a townhouse in Clayton which is a Chinese majority suburb. The buyer (which she believes is a Chinese) is subjected to the FIRB (Foreign Investment Review Board) as he does not have a valid visa that allows him to buy properties here,” she said.
Real Estate agent Kathy Tsai of Raine & Horne Cleveland in Brisbane Bayside said there had been a lot of interest from Chinese buyers in the prestigious Raby Bay lately which showcases beautiful canal homes built. A recent record sale of almost $4.5 million was a beachfront mansion bought by a Chinese family.
“Some of these buyers buy homes here for only a month-long stay in a year.
“They (Chinese) love Raby Bay because water symbolises prosperity as well as a great outdoor lifestyle on the weekend. It is only 40 minutes to both Brisbane and Gold Coast.”