Chinese buyers turn to online shopping-style websites to buy Australian properties

News Hour:

Chinese buyers are turning to online shopping-style websites to buy Australian properties, in a shift from traditional real estate methods and to make it easier to purchase houses and apartments while in China.

Chinese-based Fosun Group has launched Estarhome.com, a property buying website similar to Taobao or Amazon, in which prospective buyers can browse off-the-plan Australian properties for purchase, reports BSS.

According to Estarhome.com’s deputy general manager Zoe Qian, Chinese buyers are increasingly trying to diversify their wealth portfolio outside of China, and placing deposits on Australian houses and properties through new, online shopping-style websites is speeding up the process.

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“Most of the time clients will choose the properties they like online, and still come to us and make the purchase face-to-face with us,” Qian told News Corp on Thursday.

Qian said that Australian apartments were overwhelmingly the most popular purchase, ahead of homes in places like Portugal or the U.S. thanks to the laid-back lifestyle, access to high-quality education and job prospects.

“We started with Portugal as Fosun bought an insurance company there and we could offer some related wealth management services,” she said.

“However, since late 2015 we have come to realize that Chinese investors still prefer countries like Australia and the US.

“Australia proves to be a hot pick for our clients with its stable political system and healthy economic growth. People are buying homes in Australia not only for investment but also for holiday use as the lifestyle is very appealing.”

Qian added that more than one million prospective Chinese buyers use the Estarhome website and that it was little wonder that Australia’s Foreign Investment Review Board (FIRB) found that two-thirds of the 46 billion U. S dollars’ worth of investment applications came from China.

“We have worked with leading Chinese developers, who also invest in Australia, such as Wanda, Country Garden, and Shimao,” Qian said.

Recently, Fosun struck a deal with Australian company EG Funds to build 1000 new apartments in major cities Brisbane and Sydney, in response to the high demand from Chinese buyers.

“Many of our clients are considering how to protect, if not increase, their wealth, while becoming more reluctant to invest in China with property prices in tier-1 cities peaking,” Qian said.

“Their favourite choice is overseas property, as other investments including bonds, insurance, and other funds are often considered riskier.”

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