Weak Chinese yuan, trade war benefit property market

By Kay Rivera | 21 Feb 2019

Weak Chinese yuan and trade war could be good for Australia’s property market, according to Juwai.com.

“Much has been made of the weakness in the Chinese yuan and how it may restrain overseas investment. In the case of Australia, we disagree. The yuan’s weakness is not holding back investment in Australian property,” said Carrie Law, Juwai.com CEO and director.

The yuan-to-Australian-dollar exchange rate is currently up around 6% compared to the number recorded during the same time last year. This means that relative advantage in currency rates is higher in Australia compared to other major countries. While the yuan lost ground to the U.S. dollar and other major currencies, it gained ground on the Aussie.

This has led to the yuan becoming an incentive for Chinese buyers to direct their investments to Australia and other countries where their purchasing power is still robust.

The report also found that some Chinese investors may opt to enter the Australian market, with trade war making some increasingly anxious about purchasing real estate in the United States. Chinese students who were pulled away from US schools and universities may also opt to go to Australia instead, which would also have spill-over effects on local real estate investment.

“The trade war could mean more Chinese investment for Australia,” said Law.

Factors obstructing investments in Australia, though, cannot be discounted from the equation.

“There are a number of restraints holding back Chinese acquisitions of Australian property at rates much lower than actual demand. Chinese demand is vast, as was revealed in the boom investment years of 2015 and especially 2016. But today that desire to purchase property in Australia is held back. Our metaphor is aquatic. The huge reservoir of Chinese demand is like water held back by a dam. That dam consists of capital controls, onerous Australian foreign buyer taxes, and the difficulties obtaining financing in Australia,” said Law.

Should a substantial change in any of these areas occur, a corresponding rise in buyer activity could follow.

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