Hong Kong buyers want Sydney, GC homes

By Ericka Pingol | 23 Aug 2019

Hong Kong buyers had been in contact with local migration agents in the hopes of securing residency ahead of buying homes in Sydney and on the Gold Coast, Domain reported.

Demand for real estate in Sydney from Hong Kong buyers has increased since the unrest in the region began. However, obtaining legal residency is more important for them, according to Georg Chmiel, Juwai.com’s executive chairman.

“Expect to see wealthy Hong Kongers first renting in Sydney or at least waiting until they have obtained their visa before they purchase. That way, they can avoid the foreign buyer tax,” Chmiel said.

Senior businesspeople from Hong Kong are the common applicants for the “golden visa”—processed by the federal government and linked to a particular state government.

The tension has greatly affected Hong Kong’s stock market. It has made storing wealth overseas a sensible prospect for Hong Kong businesspeople.

Hong Kong buyers are already checking properties in Sydney and on the Gold Coast. Most of them are successful businesspeople; some are already Australian residents or have children who are residents.

Until 2017, Hong Kong investors considered Australia their top destination for foreign home buying, according to Juwai.com’s buyer inquiry trends.

Since then, the country only ranked fourth, as foreign buyers become unable to borrow from Aussie banks and most of their preferred destinations requiring a 7%-8% tax on foreign buyer purchase.

However, demand for Aussie properties from Hong Kong buyers is back, with buying inquiries up 53% last year.

“For wealthy Hong Kongers, Australia ranks second after Singapore, and just before Canada as a destination. Even if they decamp from Hong Kong, they generally will still rely on greater China and South-East Asia as the sources of their income, and Australia makes much more sense than moving to the American hemisphere,” Chmiel said.

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