Middle-class Asian families are snapping up Australian property as they send their children down under to study, say analysts

By Martin Choi / SCMP | March 10, 2020 4:00 PM SGT
 Residential buildings with the famous Sydney Harbour Bridge and opera house in the background. Photo: Bloomberg
Residential buildings with the famous Sydney Harbour Bridge and opera house in the background. Photo: Bloomberg
Australia is becoming a new hotbed for Asian investors as more middle-class families are choosing to send their children down under for education, and buying property along the way.
There were 9.5 million visitor arrivals in Australia last year, the highest on record, according to the Australian Bureau of Statistics. The biggest proportion of them came from China, accounting for 1.4 million, or 14.7 per cent, of the total.
Five other Asian nations fell within the top 10 countries of origin " Japan, Singapore, India, Malaysia, and South Korea " while Hong Kong ranked ninth.
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Some 6.6 per cent of short-term visitors who stayed in Australia for less than a year came for educational purposes.
Spending by international visitors on education grew by 7 per cent, according to figures released from Tourism Research Australia's annual international visitor survey.
Education for international students is the country's third-largest export, worth over A$31 billion (US$20.3 billion) a year, according to consulting firm Urbis' Brisbane CBD Market Research Report released in December.
"Many middle-class families in Asia are becoming more wealthy and sending their children to study overseas in countries like Australia, and choosing to buy property there as well," said Far East Consortium managing director Chris Hoong Cheong Thard.
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"Especially over the past five or six years, we have seen more middle-class families from Asia investing overseas. This is part of a bigger trend, not just in Hong Kong, but also in other Asian countries. I think this trend will continue."
The property developer is capitalising on the trend in Brisbane with its new Queen's Wharf Residences project in the city's central business district. Due to be completed in mid-2023, it is the largest residential project in Queensland.
"The Australian government has put in great efforts to promote Brisbane as an international city, including the expansion of the city's airport. Brisbane is also competing to host the 2032 Olympics, and this is expected to elevate the city to a new level. We see huge potential for development in Brisbane," said Hoong.
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In the year to September 2019, international visitors to Brisbane were up 3.6 per cent to a record 1.45 million, according to figures from Tourism Research Australia.
The residential project is part of a A$3.6 billion (US$2.36 billion) Queen's Wharf Brisbane integrated resort being developed by Far East Consortium in collaboration with Chow Tai Fook Enterprises and the Star Entertainment Group. More than 1,000 hotel rooms will be offered by four luxury hotel brands: the Ritz-Carlton, Rosewood Hotels & Resorts, The Star Grand and Dorsett.
The integrated resort will also be the exclusive franchisee to run a casino for the next 25 years, according to Hoong.
The 64-floor residential development will consist of around 2,000 apartments.
With the outbreak of the coronavirus, more Hong Kong people will look overseas to buy property, said Hoong.
As of Tuesday afternoon, there were 33 confirmed cases of coronavirus in Australia, compared to 100 confirmed cases in Hong Kong.
"More and more [Hong Kong] people are taking notice of overseas properties. There are some concerns about the Greater Bay Area, so they may choose to go further to places like Australia instead," said Hoong.
This article originally appeared in the South China Morning Post (SCMP), the most authoritative voice reporting on China and Asia for more than a century. For more SCMP stories, please explore the SCMP app or visit the SCMP's Facebook and Twitter pages. Copyright © 2020 South China Morning Post Publishers Ltd. All rights reserved.
Copyright (c) 2020. South China Morning Post Publishers Ltd. All rights reserved.
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