Exec predicts surge of Chinese activity in property market

Chinese New Year kicks off 12 February and is expected to trigger cross-border buying, he explains

Exec predicts surge of Chinese activity in property market


By Madison Utley

Market commentators have predicted a surge in foreign buyer interest will coincide with the start of the Chinese New Year on Friday, 12 February 2021.

Georg Chmiel, co-founder and executive chairman of Juwai, a Chinese website for buyers of overseas property, explained the “most important season” for Chinese overseas homebuying begins with the coming holiday period.

“For property marketers, this is an opportunity. Consumers are at home with nothing to do, and they have the whole week off. You can have their undivided attention,” he said.

Many developers and agents in Australia have heeded such input, offering Chinese New Year-themed incentives to buyers, with promotions ranging from the inclusion of a session with an immigration lawyer, free use of a personalised concierge service, and “auspiciously-themed” $8,888 rebates.

As Chmiel sees it, property activity linked to this year’s celebrations could be more impactful than ever before given the backdrop of COVID-19. He reported that Chinese cross-border buying enquiries are expected to be 20% to 40% higher this Lunar New Year compared to the year before. 

“China is battling a new wave of COVID-19, so China is encouraging people to stay home and not travel. With fewer people traveling and more at home, more will have the time and inclination to look at overseas property,” he said.

“After a year in which almost no one travelled, prosperous Chinese families have money in the bank.”

With Chinese travel spending in Australia down more than $7.3bn in 2020, Chmiel expects that money to be reappropriated towards property purchases.

“Many Chinese with unexpected bank account surpluses are telling us they have decided to invest in real estate rather than fritter away the money,” he explained.

“That’s why home prices in major Chinese cities are climbing. It is also one reason we forecast higher demand in Australia.”

Juwai has predicted Chinese economic growth will hit 8.2% in 2021.

“At this time last year, the reality of COVID-19 was starting to become clear. Now, in 2021, China has another partial lockdown, but this time China is better prepared than any other large country,” said Chmiel.

“Chinese consumers are eagerly looking forward to the end of the pandemic, the resumption of travel, and the opportunity to return to overseas campuses to study once again.”

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