If you watch a game, it’s fun. If you play it, it’s recreation. If you work at it, it’s golf.
If the estimated ten million wealthy Chinese wanting to move into Australia for a ‘clean environment and better education for their children’ get their wish then Australia’s demographics will change permanently. According to a report in The Herald Sun, a parliamentary committee reviewing foreign investment in Australian real estate has been told that there has been a surge in real estate investments by overseas Chinese.
Melbourne has come into focus for these rich Chinese desiring the ‘Aussie lifestyle’ with ‘crowds buying in Melbourne’s most exclusive suburbs’ according to experts quoted in the Herald Sun.
“Suburbs close to private schools and the CBD were the most popular, with Toorak, Brighton, Hawthorn, Albert Park, Middle Park and Deepdene in high demand. And 36,000 new apartments bought by foreign investors are currently being built — more than half of them in Melbourne and some of them wholly bought by foreigners,” notes the report.
The trend has resulted in a parliamentary inquiry investigating foreign ownership of residential properties. The concern is that wealthy foreigners, particularly from China, are buying homes in Melbourne and Sydney and pricing out locals.
First National Real Estate’s Stewart Bunn told the committee that as many as a quarter of all home buyers in the top end of the Melbourne, Sydney and Queensland markets are mainland Chinese.
Asian investment group CLSA presented research showing almost half of China’s 70 million wealthiest people wanted to emigrate, and 10 million had Australia in mind.
“The top two reasons are clean environment and better education for their children…This intention and the belief Australian real estate brought big gains was driving investment which had boomed in the past two years’ senior analyst Andrew Johnston told the Herald Sun.
According to Australia’s Foreign Investment Review Board rules, there are no restrictions on foreigners investing in new homes in Australia, but they can only buy established homes if they have a valid visa. Once that expires, they have six months to sell.
The Herald Sun notes that those who had been found wrongly renting out Australian properties after returning home had been made to sell up but were allowed to keep their rental “windfall”.
Mr Bunn said realtors felt some were lying about their visa circumstances when buying and regarded the potential $85,000 fine as “low risk”.
Last modified on Tuesday, 02 September 2014
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