Chinese buyers pounce on Aussie property market


The South China Morning Post (SCMP) reports that Chinese immigration into Australia is about to top pre-pandemic levels, in part lured by the prospect of owning Australian property.

“Chinese short-term migration to Australia is on track this year to overtake pre-Covid 2019, owing to improved economic relations, a glut of white-collar jobs and a boom in real estate, according to government data and analysts”, SCMP reports.

“The top draws are real estate and renewable energy, said Stuart Orr, head of the business school at the Melbourne Institute of Technology”.

“In the global property market, Chinese have picked Australia as their top preference in the current quarter, according to data compiled by the real estate tech firm Juwai IQI”.

“The firm projects that third-quarter inquiries from China about Australia will be 76 per cent higher than in the second quarter, and 35 per cent higher than in the first quarter”.

“The first wave of buyers this year consisted of students who urgently needed to move to Australia to complete their studies in person [after the pandemic],” Juwai IQI said in an email to the Post”.

Juwai IQI co-founder and group managing director, Daniel Ho, said recently that Chinese buyers are cashed up and ready to buy after three years of lockdowns.

“They are buying here because they intend to live here. They are looking at houses and townhouses and larger apartments”, he said.

Ho also said that buyer preferences have changed from smaller apartments to larger family-style homes:


“Many already live here as permanent residents or holders of two passports. That means Chinese buyers today look for larger apartments, townhouses, or single-family homes. They are less likely to purchase a one-bedroom or small two-bedroom inner city apartment”.

Juwai says demand is also likely to continue growing as 71 million Chinese households more into the upper-middle and high-income classes:

“Slow Chinese economic growth and property markets encourage buyers to look overseas”.

“The country is adding more households to the uppermiddle and high-income classes than any other; expect another 71 million such households — to a total of 209 million — by 2025”.

“Chinese demand for Australian and other international real estate will also increase proportionately”.

Juwai also said that “Chinese have lots of savings to invest. In the first nine months of 2022 alone, Chinese savings deposits soared in value by RMB 26.3 trillion (US$3.6trillion/AU$5.28trillion)”.

The SMH likewise reported recently that “cashed-up Chinese buyers have re-entered Sydney’s property market with gusto”.


“The enthusiasm of Chinese buyers to invest in the Australian housing market is undiminished”. said Victor Wu, managing director of a Melbourne-based real estate investment company.

The Chinese bid on Australian property that reached a fever pitch in 2016-17 was largely cut off by Chinese capital controls, not any measures by Australia.

However, China is now busy opening the loopholes, which will ensure that capital once again flows freely into Australian property:


“China is taking steps to loosen strict capital-control measures in its two most important cities amid efforts to win back foreign companies as overseas investment slumps and the economy slows”.

“In Shanghai’s pilot free-trade zone and Lingang area, foreign investors are now allowed to freely transfer their investment-related funds in or out of China without any delay should the money be “real and compliant,” authorities in the financial hub said in a set of rules that took effect on Sept. 1.”

“Beijing has also proposed similar regulations for the whole city, according to drafted rules published Wednesday that are now seeking public feedback”.

The long-suffering of Australians without a roof over their heads looks set to worsen amid record immigration and foreign buyer demand.

About the author
Leith van Onselen is Chief Economist at the MB Fund and MB Super. He is also a co-founder of MacroBusiness. Leith has previously worked at the Australian Treasury, Victorian Treasury and Goldman Sachs.