Chinese investors and buyers have long provided impetus to the Australian property market and when their interest waned in 2018, property values soon started to slide.
According to figures from Juwai, residential Chinese buyer enquiries declined 20% in 2018 before bouncing back in the fourth quarter, when enquiries increased 58.1% compared to the same period in 2017.
The most popular cities to buy in are Melbourne, Sydney, Brisbane, Adelaide and Canberra, with popular regional destinations including the Gold Coast, Newcastle, the Sunshine Coast, Cairns, Wollongong and Geelong.
“The Chinese buyer who set a building record by paying $4.5m for a second-hand apartment in downtown Brisbane is just one of many examples that show Chinese buyers are still important,” says Juwai CEO Carrie Law.
Looking at the global picture, the firm estimates that buyers from mainland China spent as much as US$129.3bn on global real estate in 2018; a growth rate of 3% to 8% over 2017 levels.
According to Law, Australia will see an influx of Chinese buyers and investors over the coming year and there are ways brokers can position to tap this lucrative market.
“For anyone who is uncertain in dealing with buyers from China, let me reassure you that they value professionalism, expertise, and responsiveness just as much as any other client you will work with,” she tells Australian Broker.
“If you can treat them with utmost respect, just like ay client, that will go a long way. If you demonstrate and share with them your knowledge of the lending market in a way that helps them, all the better. And if you are quick to answer their questions and keep them informed, you may well see some referral business coming your way.
“Some Chinese buyers are only really comfortable with brokers who come from the same culture, but I believe this group is outnumbered by those who prefer privacy to familiarity. If you don’t speak Chinese and don’t have family back in China, then they consider it less of a risk to share their financial information with you,” she continues.
In 2019, Law predicts that Chinese buyers will continue to account for the largest share of foreign buyer purchases in Australia.
"Barring significant changes in the economic or policy environment, we believe Chinese buyer growth in 2019 will be flat but that and this group will account for about 22% of all foreign buying,” she adds.