Sell yourself for Chinese investment

Agents selling into the Chinese market need to forget their listings and, instead, to remember their manners.

Australian real estate agents fresh from a sojurn across Beijing, Hong Kong, Shanghai and northern China have found the key to tapping into the Chinese market is to forget you are chasing a transaction and rather to sell yourself.

One agent, who spoke exclusively to Real Estate Business, said that often elderly people will approach them and say they will die without owning land but are interested in shoring up investments for future generations.

Director of Belle Property International Stephen Ivanusa flew back this week from the Chinese property listing portal Juwai’s China Asia Summit, concluding that successful business is not about lining up a pipeline of buyers to force through Australia as investors.

Conducting business in China is about shoring up a sale for the next generation.

Mr Ivanusa said that if an agent makes just one transaction during a trip to China, they are lucky. If anyone approaches to talk property, they are doing so on behalf of future generations, he said.

“Everyone I spoke to was never going to sell either here in Australia or China, and the Chinese strategy is not about being in Sydney or Melbourne or having a 5 per cent return; it’s about securing something for their family with a long-term outlook,” Mr Ivanusa said

“In China, as an estate agent, your product is yourself and the bulk of any transactions are conducted years and years later from the start of the relationship as older Chinese want to meet an Australian estate agent they can buy a property for their son or daughter from many years later.

“A lot of estate agents are trying to figure out how to tap into the Chinese market and really, you need to shut up about return on investment and such. Those tapped into the market are already achieving strong sales results from China into America, London, the UK and the Phillippines as Chinese want a centralised agent who can conduct financial transactions on any level.”

Locally, potential investors from overseas, particularly China, look for land and housing packages. Typically these people are from a rural or farming community, most likely from northern China, and they have spent a lifetime saving, have pooled their resources, and want to continue working on a patch of land with members of a local community.

It is common for these people to purchase 20 properties off a plan and sometimes conduct a whirlwind tour of an area prior to purchasing.

Justin Hagen from Calibre real estate in Brisbane said he organises tours of Sydney, Melbourne and Brisbane designed specifically for Chinese buyers and said most of the demand is for house and land packages.

“I guess what we do is more targeted to Chinese buyers looking to get into the market,” Mr Hagen said. “I get the impression they look to buy in a market with room to move, even gradual… they want to buy in an area with growth over a long period of time, not a solid jump.”

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