Overseas investors essential to growth of economy, says top trainer

The number one real estate trainer, as voted by Real Estate Business’ Top 100 Agents, has said “critical” infrastructure is funded by foreign buyers. 

Real estate trainer and coach Josh Phegan said he hasn’t seen too much foreign investment while dealing with a number of his clients.

“But certainly we have markets where we have seen strong investment, there is no doubt,” he told Real Estate Business.

“There are large amounts obviously coming from China, and just internationally generally, where people see that Australia is a particularly good place to invest."

“[However] I think there needs to be a weigh up between buying infrastructure and funding infrastructure, which is actually critical for an economy and country to grow,” he added.

Mr Phegan said he has been a bidder in the Sydney property market over the last 12 months while he was buying a house.

“I recently purchased a house [but] I missed out on houses a couple of times to buyers who I would perceive to be coming from international markets,” he said.

“But long story short, I have been able to successfully purchase.”

Mr Phegan said as far as he is aware, The Foreign Investment Review Board (FIRB) is there to sign off on the transaction to give approval before the transaction can be completed.

“At the end of the day, the FIRB is there to do its job. If you are unhappy too many people internationally are buying into the Australian marketplace, the question is what are you looking to develop? Does it actually help for essential infrastructure to be developed?” he said.

“And from that point of view I actually don’t see too much of an issue in terms of it pricing out Australians from buying property.”  

Also speaking to Real Estate Business, Harcourts Victoria chief executive Sadhana Smiles said Australia is a “melting pot” of many different nationalities, which is reflected when you go to buy a house.

“Just because you have a number of Asians standing at an auction does not mean they have all come in as foreign investors,” she said.

“We don’t collect passport details and we don’t collect nationality details of people who go open to inspections - we have to be careful that we don’t create hysteria around an issue, or a media beat up around an issue, that really doesn’t exist.”

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