Listing website Juwai, which said it is China’s largest international property portal when ranked by unique browsers, property listings and editorial resources, reported a surge in interest from Chinese buyers in the weeks before the country’s most recent national holiday period, in early October.
The semi-annual seven day holiday period, otherwise referred to as ‘Golden Week’, celebrates National Day and in 2012 ran from October 1 to 7. The next Golden Week holiday period is linked to Chinese New Year, which in 2013 runs from 9 to 15 February.
"Wealthy Chinese take advantage of the unusual length of the Golden Week holiday to go abroad and scout or purchase property,” said Andrew Taylor, Juwai.com CEO - sales and marketing.
"Often the property hunt is accompanied by a school hunt, as Chinese parents typically invest in property in the same cities where their children attend school.
"We saw a big run up in overseas property searches by Chinese buyers as Golden Week approached. That indicates they were preparing for their property hunting trips by learning more about listings on the market and targeting the properties they wanted to visit.
"Once Golden Week started, online property hunting shifted to mobile devices, which is consistent with the travel data which shows many high net worth Chinese went overseas during Golden Week to buy real estate.”
New developments are an “easy sell” for agents targeting Chinese property buyers, Mr Taylor added.
“There is increasing demand for large investment opportunities - US$50 million upwards,” he said. “The requests for options are increasing, although buyers [are] very choosey.”
According to Juwai, its Australian property listings include those from the entire LJ Hooker network and other “leading agencies” in Sydney, Melbourne and Perth. “We publish around 230,000 listings across Australia,” Mr Taylor said. “At present there are 1,000 agencies on the site.”
He said agents based in major Australian metropolitan areas like Sydney, Melbourne, Brisbane, Adelaide and Perth should be promoting their listings to Chinese buyers, particularly ahead of next year’s Golden Week.
Last week Brian White, chairman of Ray White Group, said a strong relationship with the Chinese market is important as investors rush to Australia in large numbers.
“It was calculated recently that Chinese investors spent $4.2 billion on Australian property," he said. "This is a dramatic increase over the last four years and shows an exciting shift in the real estate market.”
Last weekend thousands flocked to the Chinese Property Expo in Chinatown, Sydney where Ray White Group was represented at the expo by two offices; Ray White Southbank, Victoria and Ray White Rural Sydney.
Late October also saw the launch of Domain Chinese, in what the Fairfax-owned Domain said was the first property magazine for the Sydney Chinese community that not only features listings, but also editorial content as well as statistics and tools for the property investor.