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#1 Posted : Monday, March 5, 2018 9:52:19 PM(UTC)

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SYDNEYBEIJING, June 6 (Xinhua) -- In response to accusations that Chinese buyers are pushing up housing prices in Australia, several property experts said the Chinese buyers are scapegoated for the housing unaffordability facing some Australians after years of prices growth.

In a recent article carried by Australia's Domain News website, the experts also revealed and clarified six big misconceptions about Chinese property buyers, which are as follows.

1. "Overseas Chinese investors are pricing Australian first home buyers out of the market"

It's not true. Actually, offshore Chinese investors and first home buyers generally don't compete for the same properties.

In Melbourne, for example, Chinese investors are mostly interested in new CBD apartments and suburbs with a strong Chinese community, such as Box Hill and Glen Waverley. Most buyers of existing dwellings are migrants, or Australian Chinese.

Jon Ellis, founder and chief executive of the property marketing website Investorist, said that many Chinese investors are purchasing off-the-plan apartments in the CBD, while first-timers are buying established apartments in suburbs like Caulfield.

Ellis pointed out that Chinese buyers are actually helping first home buyers because they're increasing supply, and also stimulating construction activity which is keeping the economy afloat.

"Australians love a scapegoat. The First Home Buyer's Grant was blamed for driving up property prices...baby boomers were blamed for pricing first home buyers out of the market; there's always someone to blame," he said.

2. "Chinese buyers with endless financial means are bringing suitcases full of money"

Esther Yong, director of Chinese portal ACProperty, said the majority of average buyers are looking at properties priced between 500,000 to 800,000 AU dollars (about 361,000 to 577,000 U.S. dollars).

"A lot of people think they just walk up with suitcases of money, but that doesn't usually happen," she said.

"Generally, there's more news about people buying 5 million, 10 million and 20 million-AU dollar houses than just someone buying a 500,000-AU dollar house...so most people think Chinese buyers are really rich," said Yong.

Chinese buyers are usually very cautious with their money and don't like to overstretch financially.

Ellis said the majority of Chinese buyers usually make their investment decisions before visiting the property in Australia.

"They certainly don't bring any suitcases of cash because they'd be stopped at the Australia customs," he said.

3. "Chinese buyers tend to overpay on properties"

Some vendors believe they can get top dollar for their property if they sell their home to a cashed-up Chinese buyer, but that's not always the case.

Chinese buyers like to negotiate, and some agents would even say they're savvy buyers.

Sure, they'll pay a premium if they think it's worth it, or it has unique features, just like local buyers.

Yong said many Chinese buyers have family and friends living in Australia, who would help them with their research.

Biggin and Scott Glen Waverley director Ming Xu said that offshore buyers are rational, and are sensitive to exchange rates, immigration policy and how safe a country feels.

4. "Chinese buyers aren't concerned about dwelling size"

Investorist's China 2016 International Property Outlook, which surveyed 150 real estate agencies selling off-the-plan properties across China, found Chinese buyers are not looking for micro apartments.

Ellis said that not a single agency said their clients would favor an apartment under 50 square meters.

However, an offshore investor venturing into the Australian market may start off with a smaller property because it's more affordable.

5. "Chinese investors leave apartments and houses empty because they're not chasing rental return."

Apartment buyers usually rent the property out, Yong said, but Chinese buyers intending to migrate to Australia may keep a big house empty until they move so that the property's still new.

She said many of their users would jump on the rental section of their website to research potential rental return before they buy in an area.

Ellis said yields are an important consideration for Chinese buyers, and they're especially looking for rental guarantees.

The Investorist survey found investment is the number one motivating factor for Chinese buyers, followed by education, migration and lifestyle.

6. "Most Chinese buyers shun properties with a street number 4, and the right number play a big part in their decision making."

It's true that the number eight is linked to good fortune because its pronunciation "ba" in mandarin, and "baat" in Cantonese, sounds similar to the word for prosperity.

And sure, some buyers might even pay a bit more at auction just to land on 888,888 AU dollars.

Likewise, the number 4 is seen as unlucky because it sounds like the word "die."

But Xu said the sale price more likely depends on the property, particularly for younger Chinese buyers.

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