More Chinese buyers to target Australia

Chinese buyer demand for Australian property is set to rise even further now the United States has halted an immigration visa program until October 2015.

The hold on US approvals for the popular EB-5 visa follows an unprecedented demand from predominantly Chinese nationals, maxing out the 10,667 allowable visas for this financial year.

Australia is the second-most popular country searched by house hunters in China after the US, followed by Canada, new data from China’s international property search portal Juwai shows.

As a result Australia can expect more Chinese people to apply for our own Significant Investment Visa, which will mean more demand for our real estate, according to Juwai co-chief executive Andrew Taylor.  

And the windfall is most likely to be felt at the prestige end of the market.

“There is a clear correlation between Chinese demand for premium Australian homes and the number of investor visas that are approved,” Mr Taylor said.

Of the 343 Significant Investment Visas granted in Australia since the scheme was launched in November 2012, 87.4 per cent have been to people from China.

In February, Canada axed its Immigrant Investor Program after claims that its housing market was being inflated by the demands of wealthy foreigners.

Demand for the US EB-5 visa has doubled almost every year since 2009, thanks to mainly Chinese buyer demand, according to the Los Angeles Times. This is the first time approvals for the 10,667 visas has hit its limit since it was launched in 1990.

The Australian visa program gives residence to applicants who invest at least $5 million in complying investments, such as Commonwealth, state or territory government bonds, ASIC-regulated managed funds with a mandate for investing in Australia, or Australian proprietary companies.