Hong Kong buyers turn to Australian coasts after protests
HONG Kong residents are setting their sights on property in a wave of real estate inquiries across Australia following months of protest turmoil in their beleaguered city.
Latest realestate.com.au data shows the Gold Coast is the third most searched area by Hong Kong property seekers, with the list mainly dominated by Melbourne suburbs.
Realestate.com.au chief economist Nerida Conisbee said international and expat buyers were spurred on by the pro-democracy protests against mainland China, which were creating safety fears and political unrest.
Rallies that began in March and April developed into full-blown protests of up to a million people in June, aimed mainly at a controversial extradition bill but also focusing on demands for democratic reforms and fears Beijing is eroding the island's freedoms.
"Search from Hong Kong continues to grow as there seems to be no end in sight to the political turmoil in that country," she said.
"Compared to September last year, search is up 34 per cent this September.
"The same thing is coming out of the UK - anywhere looking a bit shaky politically, (their residents) are looking to Australia."
Gold Coast affordability was a major factor driving property interest, according to Ms Conisbee.
Real estate firm CBRE's 2019 Global Living report listed Hong Kong as the most expensive city in the world to buy property, with an average price of more than $US1.2 million (more than $A1.7 million).
The Gold Coast's median house price is $A655,000.
"The Gold Coast has such a strong international brand and it's very affordable compared to Hong Kong," Ms Conisbee said.
"It would be partly expats and definitely people with some sort of citizenship (searching on the Gold Coast), also people wanting to get their money out of the country."
Ms Conisbee said the top suburbs, including Surfers Paradise and Broadbeach, would attract Hong Kong residents due to their apartments as "that's what they are used to" as well as the new developments that international buyers are restricted to purchasing.
Amir Prestige Property Agents principal Amir Mian said his agency had sold more properties to Hong Kong buyers in the past six months than it had in three years.
"All of a sudden out of nowhere, Hong Kong has come in pretty strong," he said.
"There's a bit of uncertainty there and Australia is considered a safe place to invest and there's still value in our dollar.
"For $5.5 million you buy a small apartment in the main area (of Hong Kong).
"Things are growing (on the Gold Coast) and they can see it. Thirty per cent of our buyers at the moment are interstate. Combine that with Hong Kong and it's a really healthy market."
Australian developer Crown Group has also noticed the growing trend and recorded a 300 per cent increase in inquiries from Hong Kong buyers across October and September.
The property developer's senior sales executive, Jerry Chen, said Hong Kong residents were turning to Australia for more than just great weather and lifestyle.
"The top reasons for Hong Kong residents buying in Australia are always going to be immigration and investment," he said.
"Immigration is often sought so that buyers have a desirable place to retire and somewhere their children can go to university.
"Australia is considered to be a safe haven and a lifestyle destination, known for its clean, healthy lifestyle and excellent education and health care.
"These buyers are also attracted to the forecast economic growth and the stable investment environments (that the country offers)."
Top suburbs for Hong Kong property seekers
Gold Coast, QLD
Doncaster East, VIC
Box Hill, VIC
Glen Waverley, VIC
St Leonards, VIC
Top Gold Coast suburbs for Hong Kong property
Originally published as Hong Kong buyers turn to Coast following protests