Data from the Foreign Investment Review Board (FIBR) exceeded the expectations of Credit Suisse analyst Hasan Tevfik, who forecast last year that total Chinese investment in Australian real estate could top $44bn by 2020, The Australian Financial Review reported.
The latest figures could potentially drive up prices in the Australian real estate market even further.
"It seems like Chinese demand is growing faster than new supply in Australia. That is the critical point for house prices – is there enough supply to keep up with Chinese demand, as Chinese demand has picked up? Supply has picked up, but not by enough," Tevfik was quoted as saying by the Financial Review.
The FIBR also noted that this is the first time China has overtaken the US as the largest foreign investor in Australia, with total planned investment of $27.7bn. The US only holds $17.5bn.
Asian neighbours Malaysia and Singapore also followed closely, chalking up 27% and 114% increases in planned property investments in the country, respectively. Both planned to spend between $2bn and $4bn in new property projects across Australia.
"It seems like the biggest residential real estate buyers are our neighbours. It's not Americans, it's not Canadians, it's not the British. It's the Malaysians, the Singaporeans, the Hong Kongers and the Chinese. By luck, Australia is on the doorstep of this massive wealth creation that is happening before our eyes," says Tevfik.
This is echoed by Visionary Investment Group's China-born chief executive Michael Guo.
"The strong financial and economic fundamentals in Australia means Asian investors such as the Chinese will continue to invest here," Guo was quoted as saying.
"The market will determine how much more Chinese investments will come. At the moment we are at equilibrium. There is still a lot of demand for supply to come. It will remain so until we cannot supply anymore."
Visionary Investment Group plans to turn a Sydney office tower, 233 Castlereagh Street, into a new residential, retail and hotel precinct with more than 500 units.
Collections: Mortgage News