Chinese crackdown on buyers means good deals for locals
BRISBANE real estate deals are collapsing after a new Chinese Government sting on offshore investment.
Millions sunk into real estate are at risk, according to experts, but Queensland may have avoided a multibillion-dollar hit from a related Chinese Government ban on casino investments, realestate.com.au reports.
Property experts believe the situation has created a perfect storm for locals with deals aplenty as Chinese buyers topple on funding.
This after China's State Council documented restrictions on investments in real estate and banned any funding of new casinos over concerns that private firms were carrying too much debt.
The $3 billion Queens Wharf casino - whose joint venture partner Chow Tai Fook Enterprises owns China's biggest jewellery firm - and billionaire Tony Fung's millions sunk into hotel and casino plans along the Queensland East Coast would both have been in the crosshairs, but their Hong Kong bases appear to have shielded them for now.
A spokesman for Mr Fung - who's in Hong Kong this week - said "to the best of our understanding the new regulations do not apply to Hong Kong, where Tony resides, so will not have any impact on Aquis' Australian
Officially the real estate restriction was on deals worth more than $US1billion, but The Courier-Mail was told a wider net had already been cast, with Chinese nationals transferring cash here having to sign statements declaring the funds were not for real estate.
Agents have reported a flurry of Chinese investors wanted to offload new developments at discounted rates - a boon for locals via reduced prices and less competition. Cash-strapped Chinese buyers who paid 10 per cent deposits on units were willing to back out of deals with as little as a third of their deposit in hand "because 3 per cent (of the 10) is better than nothing".
Brisbane was expected to bear the brunt of any Queensland fallout, especially in new developments. Realestate.com.au data showed the top 10 Queensland suburbs that attracted Chinese attention this year were Carindale, St Lucia, Indooroopilly, Hope Island, Calamvale, Sunnybank, Southport, Sunnybank Hills, Cairns and Eight Mile Plains.
Just last year, busloads of Chinese buyers were driven around Brisbane to look at potential investments but demand had dropped so sharply those trips have had to be culled, said Harcourts agent Conrad Leisemann.
Yong Real Estate agent Tom Zhang, who deals with many Chinese buyers and sellers in Sunnybank, said the moves were a "double threat" for Chinese investors.
"Firstly they made it hard to borrow money, so many people said 'okay we will use cash', and now the cash has been restricted," he said. "The Sunnybank outer market has been greatly affected by those changes. It's good timing for local buyers to buy before the rules are loosened again."
Place Projects director Lachlan Walker said the lending crackdown was heavily felt from late last year, but the new restrictions would pummel Sydney and Melbourne more than Brisbane.
"Chinese buyers' preference has always been Sydney and Melbourne, so it will impact those markets more than Queensland," he said. "But Chinese investment in residential product gave us our volume. They did underwrite a lot of developments that occurred here and we can't depend on them now."
REIQ CEO Antonia Mercorella said Queensland had to find an alternative to fill the gap left by Chinese investors.
"Queensland needs investors in both residential and commercial property, so our strong hope is that if one investor group starts to contract another will be able to increase to fill the gap.
"Queensland is a desirable investment destination and hopefully our strong value proposition will continue to attract local and international investors to our shores."