Australia continues to be a top housing spot for foreign buyers, with activity from the segment rising over the June quarter amid the COVID-19 outbreak, according to the latest NAB Residential Property Survey.
The share of foreign buyers in new property markets increased to a two-year high at 8.3%, while in the established markets, the proportion recovered from a record low to 3.1%.
Of all states, Victoria recorded the most significant jump in the share of foreign buyers in the new-home segment, hitting 19.3%. Market share of foreign buyers in new property markets declined in other states.
"While the prominent role played by foreigners in Australian housing markets has dissipated in recent years, market share in this buyer group in Q2 increased in both new and established housing markets," the report said.
Georg Chmiel, executive chairperson at Juwai IQI, said Chinese buyers make up 40% of the demand for Australian real estate during the second quarter of the year. While the share of Chinese buyers was lower than the levels achieved last year, Chmiel said it was still strong considering the context of a global pandemic.
"During the first half, Chinese buying in Australia was down 14% according to Juwai IQI enquiry data, but local buyer activity plummeted by some 40%. In that respect, foreign buyers helped support the market at a time when the outlook was otherwise bleak," he said.
Figures from the Foreign Investment Review Board showed that of the $211bn Asian investors have injected towards Australian real estate over the past decade, more than half came from Chinese buyers.
"It's hard to predict will happen quarter by quarter with actual enquiries and transactions, but one thing is certain, Chinese buyers have not lost their taste for Australian property, the Australian lifestyle, or for protecting some of their wealth via investing in Australia," Chmiel said.
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