Australia’s fourth-richest man, James Packer, just sold his 3,345 square metre Sydney estate for a record $51 million to a property developer from southern China’s Guangdong province.
Packer, who runs the Crown Resorts casino group and is heir to one of Australia’s biggest fortunes, sold the six-storey home in the eastern Sydney suburb of Vaucluse to Dr Chau Chak Wing, the founder of Guangzhou-based property developer Kingold Group.
The purchase by Chau, who is ranked as China’s 220th richest person by Forbes and is estimated to have a fortune of $1 billion, comes as Chinese buyers continue to funnel cash into Australia’s property market.
Chinese Buyers Set Another Aussie Record
Packer sold his estate, La Mer, after splitting with ex-wife Erika Packer and moving to a beach house on Sydney’s Bondi Beach.
The $51 million sale of the property set a new record for a non-seafront home in Australia, easily shattering the former mark of $38 million set in May 2013. The previous record was also set by a Chinese property developer, Wang Zhijun, who bought the Altona mansion on Sydney’s Point Piper through an Australia-based relative.
Chau, who bought the former Packer residence, is already a legal resident of Australia, but still spends most of his time in Guangzhou. In addition to Kingold’s real estate business, the company also lists interests in hospitality, eco-tourism and media.
The Chinese billionaire’s new Sydney home, which was built by Packer after combining three adjoining properties, has underground parking for 20 cars, a glassed-in garden area, a gym, a 20-seat cinema and an elevator.
Chinese Continue to Snap Up Sydney Homes
Packer’s sale to the Guangzhou billionaire may be the biggest Australian home sale to date, but it is also representative of a wider trend as Chinese buyers gorge on housing in Sydney and Melbourne.
A report released earlier this year by Credit Suisse found that mainland buyers now account for 23 percent of new home sales in Sydney and 20 percent in Melbourne. Together Sydney and Melbourne accounted for 80 percent of all Chinese purchases of new housing down under, totalling $5.55 billion of the $6.9 billion invested by mainlanders last year.
The surge in Australian home purchases by Chinese buyers, which is driven by slowing domestic markets in China, and a plummeting Aussie dollar, has led the Swiss bank to predict that mainland investors will put A$60 billion ($44 billion) into Australian housing over the next six years.