Wealthy business migrants from China fuel prestige property rush – In the press

Turi Condon and Maggie Lu Yueyang
The Australian | Sydney
Saturday, 17 September 2016

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A near 20 per cent jump in wealthy business migrants, mostly from China, in the past year is adding fuel to the top of the prestige housing market where a winter property drought has put pressure on prices.

Sydney agent Monika Tu has organised group inspections in the coming weeks instead of traditional one-on-one viewings for mostly Chinese clients who visit Australia in higher numbers around the republic’s “National Day golden week” holiday early next month.

“The demand is overwhelming. We just don’t have time for one-on-ones anymore, and have to take two or three clients ­together in one inspection,” Ms Tu, founder of Black Diamondz, told The Weekend Australian. “Most of our clients are 188 visa holders, who contact us as soon as they get the visa. We ­arrange everything, including hotels and travel, for them to visit Australia and inspect properties.”

The number of business innovation and investment visas, or 188 visas, increased to 1751 in the year to the end of May, with an extra 276 visas granted over the previous year — a rise of 18.7 per cent, according to the Department of Immigration and Border Protection.

The category covers business visas and investor visas, including the “significant investor visa” that requires applicants to invest $5 million or more in Australia.

The increase looks relatively moderate in comparison with the nearly twofold surge in the 2015 financial year, but shows sustained demand for Australia’s residency from business immigrants, mainly from Asian countries led by China.

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A 188 visa grants temporary residency and allows its holder to buy both existing and new Australian property.

An extra 276 wealthy offshore families was enough to impact luxury property prices, MacroPlan chief economist Jason ­Anderson said.

Sydney’s affluent Woollahra and Mosman local government areas saw a combined 1000 homes change hands in the $3m-plus price bracket last financial year, he said, noting that if a substantial portion of the new visa holders moved to Sydney, it would add pressure to an already tight prestige market.

A recently migrated Chinese family last week paid a suburb ­record of $15.5m for a house in Northbridge on Sydney’s lower north shore in a sale brokered by McGrath’s Michael Coombs.

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