Sales of Australian homes to foreign buyers doubled in the most recent financial year, in a surge led by Chinese buyers.
Mainland investors pumped A$12.4 billion ($9.76 billion) into Aussie real estate from April 2014 to the end of March, according to newly released figures from the Australian government.
The hunger of mainland buyers for overseas properties and foreign passports has made Australia a leading destination as China’s newly rich look for better investment opportunities and improved lifestyles. Sales of real estate in the country have also risen in the country as its currency has fallen in value.
Chinese Push Aside North Americans
The amount spent by Chinese buyers of Australian homes in the 2014-2015 fiscal year was more than twice the A$5.9 billion ($4.6 billion) that mainlander’s had invested as recently as 2012-2013, according to a report released by the country’s Foreign Investment Review Board (FIRB).
According to the regulatory body, which is responsible for vetting all foreign investment Australia, Chinese spending on real estate in the country is now double the amount coming from the US, which put in A$6.14 billion ($4.84 billion) from US investors to rank second. Canada was third on the list as a source of home sales with A$2.95 billion ($2.32 billion).
China also wrested the title of Australia’s biggest foreign investor overall from the US, putting a total of A$27.7 billion ($21.8 billion) into the country last year, as compared to only A$17.4 billion ($13.7 billion) from the North American superpower.
China’s rise to first place amongst overseas buyers of Australian property arrives in tandem with its emergence as Australia’s chief source of foreign investment, ousting the US from top spot.
Surge of International Sales Includes Existing Homes
During recent months Australia’s government has taken steps to curb and deter illegal sales of local homes to foreigners, and the FIRB figures give a picture of the extent of the problem.
In the most celebrated case to date, the government earlier this year forced China’s Evergrande Real Estate to sell off an A$39 million (US$33.4 million) mansion in Sydney that had been illegally acquired through a shell company. Evergrande’s billionaire boss, Xu Jiayin is said to have successfully sold off his short-lived Aussie pied a terre last week.
Despite regulations that limit sales to foreign buyers to newly-developed homes, and forbid international purchases of existing homes, except for redevelopment purposes, sales of established homes to non-Australian residents tripled compared to 2013-2014 to reach A$$7.17 billion ($5.65 billion).