Courting overseas Chinese buyers seems all the rage nowadays; Australia’s real estate agents are marketing to Chinese potential investors through Mandarin website, gifang.com, which promotes houses, apartments and land in Melbourne, including the south-east suburbs, to 315 cities in China.
The website showcases listings from real estate companies such as Barry Plant, Century 21, Buxton, Fletchers and Hocking Stuart on the Chinese portal and on ourproperties.com.au in English.
Gifang.co m chief executive Michael Yang said buyers based in China had “tons and tons of cash to invest” elsewhere.
Due to restrictions in their own country on investment property, in order to control their own property bubble, Chinese investors are eager to purchase property abroad, and Australia is a favoured country to do so.
“Most Chinese would dream to live in Australia. They want to move their kids out here to study and live so they might buy three off-the-plan apartments: one for their child, and rent the other two,” said Michael Yang, CEO of gifang.com.
This trend is prevalent in other parts of the world as well, investors from China and Southeast Asia bought one in every two new homes in central London last year (51 percent of new-property purchases) as the number of wealthy individuals in the region swells.
In the US, monthly tour are organised especially for Chinese investors who want to take advantage low real estate prices, and purchase several properties at once.
In Australia it is a little more complicated to purchase a home if one is a foreigner; any sales, are subject to Foreign Investment Review Board approval, first. The FIRB, under direction of the federal government, rejects sales of established homes, however it does tries to encourage overseas buyers to invest in house-and-land packages, farms, vacant blocks and off-the-plan homes.
In a recent annual report, the board stated that it did approve $176.7billion in real estate proposals in 2010-11. Approvals more than doubled from 3897 in 2009-10 to 9771 in 2010-11. With other websites also catering to Chinese investors, it should be interesting to see what the numbers will be in 2012.