Tapping into Melbourne's Chinese investor interest

Property ObserverNovember 5, 20140 min read


Melbourne is one of the top cities chosen in Australia by property investors from overseas, in particular the Chinese investor.

Last year, nearly $6 billion was spent on Australian real estate by Chinese investors and Credit Suisse predicts that Chinese nationals will spend around $44 billion on Australian residential real estate over the next seven years.

Therefore, as more and more Chinese investors cast their eyes towards investing in Melbourne, it will pay to ensure that the real estate agent who is selling your property has a good understanding of, and is well networked with this lucrative buyer market.

Helping to attract wealthy Chinese to Australian shores is the Australian government’s new visa system – the significant investor visa.  Over 90% of the people who have successfully applied for this visa are Chinese

Melbourne already has a large Chinese population. In fact, Melbourne has the oldest Chinatown in the world, outside of China, and its Chinese population continues to grow steadily and gravitate towards specific areas, with one example Bentleigh, in Melbourne’s south-east. Over the past three years the Chinese population in Bentleigh has flourished and grown exponentially.  

Chinese buyers heading to Australian shores value the cost of our properties (Australia is still relatively cheap compared to a lot of cities around the world), our good education system, quality of life, public security and clean air. Bentleigh’s attraction to the Chinese buyer lies primarily in its good schools, but also in the attractive large and modern houses it has to offer.

The suburb features a number of excellent primary schools, and is in the catchment area for one of the best public schools in the area, McKinnon Secondary College. Additionally, Bentleigh is attractive to the Chinese investor for its proximity to Melbourne’s CBD (just 12 kilometres away), its good transport links and its access to the Bayside beaches.

For real estate agents operating in areas that are culturally diverse, it is important to have a team that understands the local market and therefore has the ability to effectively target prospective buyers.  Hodges works tirelessly to ensure clients get the best possible outcome for the sale of their property and this means targeting all prospective buyer groups in the local area.

Ultimately, getting the best price for a property is about maximising the number of interested buyers, so therefore given we know what we do about the Chinese investor; it would be negligent not to include them as an important stakeholder group.

It is for this reason that every Hodges Bentleigh property listing is translated into Mandarin and listed on the Gifang.com site. This means our clients are able to tap into a huge market of potential Chinese-speaking buyers that we know are actively looking to buy in Melbourne. Hodges also offers a translation service so that we can communicate with Chinese buyers in Chinese.

There is no shortage of Chinese investors in the Melbourne property market and this is great news for those selling properties in areas that are attractive to Chinese investors. As a vendor it pays to select an agent with a sound knowledge of the Chinese investor market. After all, extending the reach of a campaign to include another layer of buyers will only help to ensure the best price come auction day.

Frank Ruffo is director of Hodges Bentleigh.

Property Observer

Foreign Buyers
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