The number of residential properties owned by foreign nationals who broke investment rules has increased, with over half of the breaches linked to homes in Victoria, according to

The latest Foreign Investment Review Board report showed that there were 131 illegally held properties in 2017-2018—slightly up from the 96 properties ordered for sale in 2016-2017.

More than half of these violations were uncovered in residential properties in Victoria, while 20% were related to properties in New South Wales.

The report also found that the United States’ approved investments increased by $10 billion to $36 billion in 2017-2018, with significant growth observed in real estate and the manufacturing, electricity and gas sector.

China, meanwhile, was named the second-largest source country after its approved proposed investment was cut by $15 billion to $23 billion during the same period. In 2015- 2016, Chinese proposed investment peaked at $47.3 billion.

The decline in approved Chinese investment was due to drops across all sectors, especially property.

In addition, foreign demand for residential real estate slowed drastically, led by Chinese investment in real estate dropping to $12.7 billion in 2017-2018 from $15.3 billion the prior year.

Unexpected cancelling of pledged mortgage loans by Australian banks, increased foreign stamp duty taxes, and capital controls made it hard to transfer funds from China, and eventually affected Chinese buying in  2017-2018, according to Carrie Law, chief executive of Chinese property portal Juwai.

Victoria was granted 46% of all residential real estate approvals, followed by NSW with 23% and Queensland with 17%.