An industry survey of China-based real estate agencies conducted by online platform Investorist found out that 149 out of 150 respondents are expecting to see an increase in Chinese purchasing of offshore property this year, exceeding the figures recorded last year. Around 60 per cent of those agencies nominated Australia as their most preferred market for property investment.
According to the Foreign Investment Review Board, China is now regarded as Australia's largest foreign investor, accounting for $46.6 billion in proposed investment in 2015. Real estate comprised the bulk of Chinese investment at $24 billion—twice as much as the figures in 2014. In fact, Chinese origin buyers are among the biggest groups of people who visit open homes. Chinese buyers also helped drive an almost 55 per cent increase in home prices across Australia's capital cities in the past seven years as mortgage rates dropped to five-decade lows. The real estate agents are set to sell up to 11,000 offshore properties to their Chinese clients this 2016.
One of the main reasons why the Chinese are investing in properties abroad is risk mitigation, as the devaluation of the Chinese yuan has reduced the buying power of Chinese investors in both the United States and Britain. Australian homes also remain to be popular among Chinese buyers because they are a lot larger, cheaper, and of better quality compared to the tiny apartments in China.
Meanwhile, the Chinese government is also attempting to limit offshore investment in the hopes of shoring up its currency.
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