A UBS survey showed that overseas properties owned by mainland Chinese are not fully-utilised, with 25 percent of Chinese buyers leaving their apartments vacant while another 25 percent use their homes on a temporary basis, reported The Sydney Morning Herald.
The survey comes amid concerns that offshore buyers help fuel Australia’s property boom and leave such homes vacant during a housing affordability crisis.
It also follows news of China placing the brakes on businesses speculating in property development abroad as increased capital outflows may harm the country’s financial interest.
Ashley Williams, director of Melbourne-based Evolve Developments, said the Australian government’s restrictions on lending by local banks to foreigners and increased stamp duty had slowed activity.
Former Dodo entrepreneur and Capitol Grand developer Larry Kestelman, however, noted that renters would be affected if Chinese, along with other investors, pulled out of the market. “A lot of apartments on market for rent are owned by overseas investors. If they back out, the rental market will become more heated.”
Meanwhile, the restrictions imposed by the Chinese government and the tougher banking rules of Australia failed to dampen Chinese interest in acquiring overseas properties over the next two years.
“Our survey shows a rising trend of mainland consumers owning residential property abroad, notable given our survey doesn’t capture high net worth consumers,” said the survey authors.
“Two-thirds of those who are active suggest China’s tightened capital controls haven’t deterred them.”
Among the key considerations for acquiring overseas property include lifestyle changes, big Chinese population, good investment environment as well as law and order.
“Interestingly, children’s education has slipped in importance compared with past surveys, although not statistically significant,” said UBS.
This article was edited by Denise Djong.