While international investment as a whole has been on the downturn across Queensland, there is one demographic bucking the trend. In 2018, Asian buyers spent a record-breaking $1.4 billion on property in Brisbane — a figure 21% higher than the year proceeding according to data from Titles Registry. While other offshore investment spiraled to its lowest in three years across the whole of the Sunshine State, buyers primarily from China and Hong Kong couldn’t get enough of Brisbane.
Of the $1.4 billion spent by Asian buyers, $977 million came from Chinese and Hong Kong investors, and $338 million from buyers in Singapore. Despite the banks significant tightening of lending criteria for overseas investors, the lure of Brisbane seems enough to make navigating the extra legislation and paying the extra fees worth it. Asian buyers now own 5491 properties across Brisbane, across the residential and commercial sectors.
Although foreign investment in the commercial sector is still significant, its the residential sector that’s buzzing. Coupled with the new banking regulations in Australia, a crackdown on international spending by the Chinese government is also responsible for this trend. Searches by Chinese buyers on PropertyMash.com increased 159% between the first and second halves of 2018, in a trend that is mirrored across the web. In total, the number of searches for Brisbane property originating from China has increased 20% in the last financial year.
Data reveals that the areas of most interest to Asian buyers are close to universities, where families will purchase a property for there children to live in while studying at UQ or QUT. The five most popular Brisbane suburbs searched from Asia-based IP addresses are Brisbane CBD, St Lucia, Toowong, South Brisbane and Indooroopilly — postcodes that are all within 10 to 15 minutes drive away from UQ and QUT.
While Brisbane is thriving, Asian investment on the Gold Coast has seen better days. Titles Registry data shows foreign investment crashed by 40% in the last financial year, down to $643 million. As well as Chinese property giants pulling out of multi-million dollar development contracts, small-scale singular residential purchases by nationals from China, Hong Kong and Singapore are also on the downturn.
The Gold Coast isn’t the only region struggling to maintain healthy foreign investment rates, with Sydney and Adelaide also plummeting. But for Brisbane, all indicators suggest the future looks just as bright as the past year. While the overarching opinion in Asia at the moment is that the Australia property market is overpriced, the lower prices and high-quality product available in Brisbane is what will continue to keep this deep-pocketed international market interested.