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Craig Pontey’s Blog – The China Connection

By Kenn Leong

The China Connection

May 14, 2014 by Craig Pontey

Last week along with some other industry colleagues I was in China on a brief trip organised by the realestate.com.au group, and while this was not my first trip to Shanghai I am always amazed by this dynamic country. We spent most of our time in Shanghai, which has a population of 24 million people more than the population of Australia.

During my visit I attended a major real estate expo in Shanghai, which was organised to showcase real estate from all over the world. Attending the expo reinforced for me the fact that there is huge demand for information and facts about the Australian real estate market. Well-off locals, and there are lots of them living in Shanghai, are it would appear almost in a frenzy when it comes to real estate, locally and off-shore. The city has deep pockets and many of its residents have very high disposable cash at their disposal.

I have already in several previous posts made reference to the high level of interest that buyers have in Australian residential real estate, and this includes our own local market. While there is a lot of attention focused on for example major CBD apartment projects, Sydney’s East is also a very attractive market for buyers from China in particular the more affluent buyers, looking for modern homes with views. The area’s lifestyle, its open space, beaches, good transport and easy CBD access are key points. But one fact that was reinforced to me during my visit to Shanghai was the importance of access to good schools for their children’s education. There’s a lot of real estate investment in Australia that is now directly related to education, both good primary and secondary schools but also then onto university.

In China it would also be no surprise that locally they are all very used to living in apartments, high rise apartments in particular and in projects that cover a huge area with some projects having many tower blocks spread across vast sites. However in Australia it is our lifestyle that has a big impact. The appeal of fresh air and lots of sunny days and a safe environment should not be overlooked.

Interest From China Will Continue

It has been estimated by one major international investment bank that Chinese nationals may sink around $44 billion into Australian residential real estate over the next seven years. This fact I think makes it important for us to understand and engage with China in a constructive way. Ray White has a China Desk in Sydney, which is staffed by very experienced people with longstanding connections to the China market, but importantly Ray White has now for some time had our own corporate office in Shanghai, not an affiliate but a fully owned and full-service office.

According to published research it is interesting to note that Chinese buyers are currently buying around 12 per cent of new homes in Australia, with most of that activity concentrated in Sydney and Melbourne. My recent trip reinforced how important it was for a group like Ray White to have established a professional service to cater for this market.

As Prime Minister Tony Abbott’s own recent whistle-stop tour of Asia showed free trade deals with Japan and soon with China shows that we need to work with our Asian neighbours across economic and cultural areas and I think that like Ray White, the direct connections we now provide are an essential way of helping our clients access these huge markets.

My trip also showed me there are some great ideas and exciting development examples right on our doorstep and I for one plan to keep on learning and exploring these markets and opportunities. I look forward to keeping you up to date with the ever changing real estate landscape in our own backyards and beyond.

Click here to view Craig’s blog.

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