Wall of capital?
Chinese capital has a huge role to play in Australia’s housing market over the next few years, for better or for worse.
But there are some looming obstacles.
New South Wales recently introduced a 4 per cent stamp duty surcharge for non-resident buyers, with a 0.75 per cent land tax.
Harsh, yes, but not as onerous for apartment buyers as the 7 per cent stamp duty surcharge that became effective from 1 July in Victoria, while Queensland has also introduced a 3 per cent surcharge.
Meanwhile, banks and brokers fearing investigation have become extremely reluctant to lend to non-resident buyers declaring only foreign income.
With a record volume of apartments due for completion over the next two years, and many of these having been bought off the plan by overseas buyers, one way or another one feels that something has to give.
At this juncture it feels like it could go either way.
We know that Australia (and particularly Melbourne and Sydney) is a favourite destination for Chinese capital.
Across the drink, Vancouver recently introduced a monster 15 per cent tax on non-residents which has turned Chinese investors away and is pushing that housing market south.
This could in turn lead more Chinese buyers to look at Australia as the destination for their fleeing capital.
Although prices have gotten more expensive in Australia for local buyers, thanks to foreign exchange movements this is not so for the Chinese.
Unit prices may have increased by 41 per cent over the last four years in Sydney, for example, but when translated into CNY prices have not moved up at all in real terms.