This week is Golden Week – a holiday week for the Chinese where it used to be all about travel, and in Australia, property. But not for the last couple of years according to Juwai.com CEO Carrie Law.
Ms Law says that the balloon has definitely deflated over the past three Golden Weeks, and while they still see some transactions, it’s not the ‘free-for-all’ of past years with the timing not such an important factor any more.
“The biggest factor behind the fewer transactions this Golden Week is that the majority of Chinese buyers in 2018 are purchasing for their own full-time use. They often already live in or frequently visit Australia,” said Ms Law.
She also points out that Golden Week is less relevant to the timing of any purchase.
“We know that Chinese demand for super-premium homes in Australia is lower than in past years as well. Those big properties used to get a lot of attention during Golden Week, but that sort of buyer is more discreet now. They don’t need Golden Week any more.”
“We still see some transactions, but it’s not the free-for-all of past years. Instead, we see a transaction bump in places like Japan, Malaysia and Thailand, where prices are lower and it’s easier to send money.
Jamie Mi, partner and Head of International for Kay & Burton, says that in her market the homes Chinese buyers are looking for are new or newish homes that are ready to live in.
“The ones who are using this holiday to visit and/or consider purchasing property are mostly new migrants who need a genuine family home to live in. There are not so many investment buyers in the top end of the market, says Ms Mi.
Joanne Dai, a former investment banker who is Sales Executive at Century 21 City Quarter and works with Chinese buyers across Sydney, said it was really quiet compared to previous years.
“I think it’s because it’s very hard for people to get money out due to capital controls. Also, due to the fact that Australian banks have mostly stopped lending to people with foreign incomes.
“It’s still a big holiday; you get seven days off work, and most people will choose to travel during this period. Australia is still a very popular destination.
“I’m hearing across the board that it’s much harder for Chinese to get Australian visas. Even partner reunion and family visitors visas are much tougher.”
Ms Dai says this affects property investment to an extent because if you can’t make the decision as a family there is no point.
“I just came back from China and the biggest topic there now is immigration, but Australia is missing out because people feel it’s very hard to get into Australia. The visa process has gotten longer and less predictable. It’s easier to migrate to Portugal or even Ireland than Australia. Australia is a lifestyle choice, but it is expensive and it’s harder to get a visa,” said Ms Dai.