Auctioneer Robert Ding underwent the tabloid television treatment earlier this week and is largely unaffected by the outcome, even though his full and frank hour of question and answer with A Current Affair was edited down to just a few snippets of his actual interview.
Mr Ding, estate agent and auctioneer for Marshall White Boroondara, was profiled on a report by A Current Affair on Monday night titled ‘Chinese buyers taking over the housing market’, which focused on his dual-language talents during a house auction in north Melbourne. He thought the report was very one sided.
“The auction footage had me talking in Mandarin but I was also translating it to English and vice-versa,” Mr Ding said in an exclusive interview with Real Estate Business.
“Chinese have been in Australia since the gold rush and if you go to Bendigo there are a lot more Aussie Chinese than Aussie Aussies, but just because I look the part doesn’t mean I am not a true-blooded Australian.
“If I was at an auction for a home and bidding against a Caucasian buyer would that mean I am an investor or buyer from overseas?”
Mr Ding said it is always good exposure being on television and the program wanted a story and that is what they got – footage of him conducting an auction as best he can.
“My take on the whole Asian invasion thing is that there are a lot of Chinese locals already here," he said.
“The footage probably won’t earn me anymore business but I’m happy in my area of speciality in the Victorian market.”
A spokesperson for Chinese-based listings portal Juwai.com was quoted in the piece as saying Australia is popular with Chinese due to the fact we speak English and have a great lifestyle.
Andrew Taylor, co-CEO of Juwai.com and blogger for Real Estate Business, said the biggest fear most people have is not about too much international investment.
Mr Taylor said what they are concerned about is missing out on those dollars and Australia’s educational, real estate and industrial sectors all depend on foreign investment and customers to thrive.
“The Reserve Bank seldom says anything outright, but on this it has made an exception. It has clearly stated that investors and supply restraints are the real cause of Australia’s rising home prices. International buyers may contribute — only in certain prestige neighbourhoods,” Mr Taylor said.
“Let's tick off the top three benefits of Chinese investment. Number one is jobs. Over one million people work in construction and a lot of those jobs depend on Chinese buyers. Number two, they are making Australians richer by buying their property. Number three, they add to the new supply of homes.
“The Reserve Bank, the developers, the bankers, they all say the same thing: Chinese buyers in particular have helped first-time buyers by boosting the supply of new homes in the market. They buy off-the-plan at rates that let developers start construction. Not enough locals do that.”