Being based on Australia’s holiday playground of the Gold Coast, I need not look far from Real Estate Results Network headquarters to see the immense impact of Chinese investment across the nation.
The $1 billion Jewel development rising from the sands at Broadbeach is a multi-tower residential and resort project backed by Asia’s richest man, Wang Jianlin, and represents an astounding wave of Chinese investment in Australian property totalling $12 billion in the last financial year.
There is no doubt China’s dramatically increased buying power and relaxed central restrictions have dramatically reshaped the field for real estate agents, with offshore buyers now eyeing property in all parts of the country.
These are my top tips for agents keen to capture this sizeable new segment of the market:
Target listings for maximum reach
Agents are now working within a truly international marketplace, while also having to adapt their business model to accommodate the differing needs of clients in those emerging markets.
With a surge of 400 per cent in Chinese purchase of local real estate over the last five years, many real estate agents have employed Mandarin-speaking staff to provide assistance and handle negotiations with overseas buyers, while also adapting their business websites to include Chinese layouts.
But while translating listings and promotional materials needs to be part of a strategic effort to market property, reaching the Chinese market is more complex than an agent simply making their listings available online.
The existence of firewalls means many international websites and social media sites are blocked to those within China, so to gain visibility agents should seek to advertise their listings on locally hosted sites.
The importance of networking
China is the perfect representation of the advantages of belonging to a network – the ethos on which the Real Estate Results Network has been founded. In China, even more so than in the west, the success of business hinges on socialising and networking with like-minded individuals.
The foundations for many deals are made in social contexts and, for this reason, agents who can travel to China to form personal ties with agents and buyers will reap an improved ability to understand local customs and respond to the needs and interests of buyers in those markets.
Establishing a physical presence in China can be initiated by a trip to attend property expos and meet in person with potential clients and form strategic alliances with local agents and companies.
Taking the next step
For agencies that have done the hard yards and invested in major sales from the Asian market, establishing direct agent representation in China, or even opening a branch in cities such as Beijing or Shanghai, is a logical progression.
But independent agents in Australia can also work towards growing their brand in the Chinese marketplace through personal interaction, alongside repeated exposure through building a database of quality property listings geared towards the Chinese buyer.
Know your buyer
For China’s ever-widening middle class, the appeal of Australian real estate stretches beyond the prospect of immense wealth.
Growing ranks of Asian families are seeking better opportunities for their children – looking for property located near quality Australian schools and universities throughout the country. And for those with the means, purchasing foreign real estate equates to a long-term investment that is safe from state intervention.
While the big-ticket sales of waterfront mansions and grand commercial developments may create the headlines, it is mid-range off-the-plan apartments and family homes in the suburbs that form the fastest-growing segment of listings on Juwai, China’s leading international property portal.