Chinese buyers return to resurgent Australian property market

SYDNEY – Chinese buyers are once again snapping up property in Australia, further fuelling resurgent prices in everything from luxury homes to tiny student apartments.

Buyer inquiries from China for Australian properties soared 127 per cent in the first three months of 2023 from the final quarter of 2022, according to data from real estate firm Juwai IQI.

Real estate agents who work with Chinese buyers predict numbers will surge in 2023.

“We expect Chinese investment in Australian real estate to climb at least 30 per cent in 2023 from 2022,” said Mr Daniel Ho, co-founder of Juwai IQI, which helps sell foreign property to clients in Asia. “Chinese buyers are back, and more will come in the second half of the year than in the first.”

That outlook is likely to concern Australian policymakers, who are already shocked at the speed of a housing recovery following 11 interest rate hikes in a year. Rising rents, limited supply and population growth are driving property markets from Sydney to Perth, and a return of big-spending foreign buyers will add to pressure on prices.

Australia is the No. 1 destination for Chinese buyers of offshore property – regaining its status following a hiatus when borders were shut during the Covid-19 pandemic and as relations between Beijing and Canberra steadily improve, according to Juwai IQI.

Foreign Investment Review Board data shows China was the single largest source of offshore investment in Australian residential real estate in the fourth quarter of 2022 at A$600 million (S$537 million).

Demand is strongest for three- and four-bedroom houses, said Mr Peter Li, co-founder of Sydney-based Plus Agency, which sells new projects, mainly to Chinese investors.

“We have a lot of Chinese people who are finally coming back to Australia and reuniting with their

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