Rise in Hongkongers applying for Australian emigration amid protests boosts recovery in Melbourne, Sydney property markets

A recovery in the Melbourne and Sydney property markets is being boosted by Hong Kong investors fleeing anti-government protests, experts said.
The number of Hong Kong residents applying for business visas for millionaires looking to migrate to Australia might have doubled since June this year, when the protests started.
"Since June, I have seen a significant increase in demand from Hong Kong for Australian visas, with business visas being of great interest to those with the wealth to make it work," said David Lesperance, an international citizenship and tax law expert and managing partner at Lesperance & Associates.
"I would not be surprised if Hong Kong applications for business visas were up by half, or even twice what they were a year ago."
This view was shared by Eli McGeever, a Hong Kong-based vice-president of international property at property portal Soho.
"As tensions in Hong Kong show no signs of abating, locals are considering residential options elsewhere," he said. "Interest in obtaining the business visa is up by at least 200 per cent at the property marketing events that I track in Hong Kong."
According to Australia's Department of Home Affairs, 220 Hong Kong residents received two kinds of business visas " Subclass 188 and Subclass 132 " between July 2017 and June 2018, the latest year for which data is available.
"In 2018, 2,400 Hong Kong residents moved to Australia. That compares with 1,600 who moved to the US and 1,100 who moved to Canada," McGeever said, citing official figures.

"The result is increased buyer interest in Sydney and Melbourne, which contributes to an already recovering property market. The Sydney real-estate market just had its busiest Saturday of auctions so far this year," he said.
"Some 700-plus properties were listed for auction, and data shows 79 per cent of the homes were sold. On the same weekend last year, only 44 per cent of properties were sold."
McGeever said the largest share of buyers from Hong Kong...