Monday, August 25, 2014

Chinese Investor Frenzy Adds Fuel to Inner-City Sydney Apartment Boom

THOUSANDS of Chinese investors piled into a property expo in Sydney’s Town Hall on the weekend as analysts tip overseas buyers will keep the city’s inner city apartment market booming for the next two years.

Close to 50 companies jockeyed for the attention of the cashed up Chinese buyers, with apartment projects being spruiked by development giants Greenland Holding Group, MAB Corporation and Frasers Property Australia

About 50 companies jockeyed for the attention of the cashed-up Chinese buyers, with apartment projects being spruiked by development giants Greenland Holding Group, MAB Corporation and Frasers Property Australia.

The property frenzy came as Sydney and Melbourne kicked off the spring auction season with strong results, posting clearance rates of 83.4 per cent and 75.3 per cent respectively on total sales of $545.7 million, according to preliminary figures released by Australian Property Monitors.

“The (auction) results were extraordinarily strong,” said APM senior economist Andrew Wilson. “The Sydney market just keeps rising. Certainly there is no sign of a waning of activity.”

He said a lot of the buyer ­action was driven by investors rather than owner-occupiers.

At the Sydney property expo Maggie Wang bought a house in Bellevue Hill, in Sydney’s east, for about $6m.

Ms Wang, who migrated three years ago, ran an IT and property development company in China and had recently started a wedding planner business in Australia. She said Chinese interest in Australian property was about more than just making money.

“People like the lifestyle, the country and the environment, it’s not just about investment,” Ms Wang said.

Another buyer, 26-year-old Crystal, bought a home in one of Sydney’s wealthiest suburbs, Vaucluse, for more than $5m, with plans to buy more Australian investment properties.

The expo also featured agencies, such as ABC World, which give Chinese investors advice on migrating to Australia through avenues such as the Significant Investor Visa. The visa, implemented by the former federal Labor government, allows foreigners who invest more than $5m in Australia the potential for permanent residency.

Black Diamondz director Monika Tu, who represents wealthy Chinese looking to buy Australian homes, said the visa’s introduction had led to a surge in interest for local trophy homes worth more than $5m.

Ms Tu said inquires to her agency from Chinese property hunters had increased by about 50 per cent this year.

Also at the expo, one of China’s largest developers, Greenland Holding Group, held expressions of interest for its second local project, the $200m ­Lucent apartment tower in North Sydney, while Singaporean-backed Frasers Property Australia marketed apartments at its $2 billion Central Park project at Sydney’s inner-city Chippendale.

The high investor demand for off-the-plan apartments is ­expected to keep Sydney’s inner-city market in boom mode for the next two years, according to forecaster BIS Shrapnel.

BIS Shrapnel said about 5800 apartments were under construction in Sydney while about 11,500 new apartments would be completed over the next three years — the biggest number in the city’s history. CBRE managing director of residential projects David Milton said the uplift in interest from Chinese investors allowed local apartment developments to stack up financially.

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