Date
26 May 2017
Chinese investors won approvals for A$254 billion of real estate investments last year, double the amount in the previous year. Photo: Bloomberg
Chinese investors won approvals for A$254 billion of real estate investments last year, double the amount in the previous year. Photo: Bloomberg

Chinese double investments in Australian real estate

Chinese investors have been ramping up investment in Australian properties.

Last year, they won approvals for A$254 billion (US$18 billion) of real estate investments, double the amount in the previous year, the Wall Street Journal reports, citing the Foreign Investment Review Board.

In 2014, China surpassed the US for the first time as Australia’s biggest foreign investor in real estate.

Foreign investment in Australia requires largely government approval.

Chinese buyers have been helping fuel a residential construction boom in Australia that has been shielding the economy from recession as the years of growth in mining sector investment comes to an end.

Australia is now the second-most-popular target market for Chinese property investors after the US, according to search data from Juwai.com, a popular international real estate portal in China.

Some Chinese investors have become more cautious in recent months after Beijing introduced controls to prevent too much money from leaving the nation while the stock market slides and economic growth slows.

In the second half of last financial year, the Australian government also began a crackdown on abuse of homeownership laws by foreign buyers, ordering several residential-property owners to sell after they illegally acquired established properties.

Current laws generally allow foreign investors to only buy homes before they are built, typically in apartment developments.

Still, Juwai.com’s chief executive officer Charles Pittar said there remains “immense pent-up demand” for international property among Chinese investors.

“China’s share has risen from less than one-tenth to more than one-quarter of all of foreign real-estate investment in Australia since 2012.

There will be ups and downs, without a doubt, but the long-term trend is up,” he said.

“This is important because it shows that the China bears who claimed Chinese investment was falling off a cliff are badly informed.”

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