“The Chinese Are A Lot More Astute Than The Japanese Were When It Comes To…Real Estate Assets”
Along with a rising tide of tourists and an estimated 150,000 overseas students from China, Australia has seen a sustained influx of Chinese real estate investors in recent years, with this growing buyer class now asserting itself in places like the Gold Coast. The second most populous city in the state of Queensland and the sixth most populous city in Australia, the Gold Coast’s highrises, luxury villas and hotels have attracted an increasing number of Chinese buyers, many of whom have proven savvy, seasoned buyers of overseas property.
Unlike the formerly dominant Japanese foreign buyers, who purchased Gold Coast property at sky-high prices during the boom years of Japan’s economy, brokers say, recent buyers from China have a laser-guided focus on relative bargains.
As Australia’s News Limited writes this week:
Experts say that the Chinese tourism boom is helping ignite the explosion of interest by China in Gold Coast real estate.
“It’s being driven by tourism, (Chinese) immigration and the fact that the Chinese see the Gold Coast and Australia as a safe haven for their money and a good place to educate their children,” said property agent Darrell Irwin, of Colliers International.
“The wave of Chinese investment in the Gold Coast has the potential to be just as big, if not bigger, than the Japanese boom of the ’80s.”
It’s not just individual Chinese buyers who have targeted the Gold Coast, however. Large corporations like Zhuhai-based Ridong and commodities company Minmetals have drawn up plans for developments aimed at Chinese tourists, while the Hong Kong-based Pacific Alliance Group purchased a section of the Salt housing estate on the Tweed Coast and acquired the $1 billion Stillwater apartment project at Hope Island from a bankrupt local developer. Hotels too have proven popular targets for acquisition among Chinese companies, with one recently purchasing the “six-star” Versace Hotel at Main Beach.
As property agent Irwin noted of the differences between new Chinese investors and the Japanese buyers who preceded them, “The Chinese are a lot more astute than the Japanese were when it comes to the acquisition of real estate assets.” For their part, individual Chinese investors have plowed millions into high-end apartments in new highrise projects, such as the Hilton and Soul buildings in Surfers Paradise, and The Oracle at Broadbeach.
Aside from comparatively low-priced overseas investment opportunities (for companies) and demand for safe haven assets and a place to educate their children (for individuals), one factor that is enticing both classes of buyers is the business opportunity presented by the 2018 Commonwealth Games on the Gold Coast. Along with a planned casino on the tourist strip, it is expected that a Chinatown will spring up in Southport with the aim of catering to the more than 200,000 Chinese travelers who now visit the Gold Coast every year.