That’s according to international property website Juwai.com, which reported that 41 per cent of Chinese buyer inquiries made in Australia in 2017 have been for property in Melbourne. That figure is up from 36 per cent last year and constitutes a “triumph for Melbourne”.
Jane Lu, head of Australia and New Zealand for Juwai.com, said that the most attractive Australian cities for Chinese buyers are Melbourne, Sydney, Brisbane, Adelaide and the Gold Coast.
In particular, however, “there’s a very exciting story to tell about Melbourne. In 2017, Melbourne has stolen Chinese buyers from other locations.
“Melbourne is actually receiving more buyer inquiries now than it was one year ago. In the first half, Melbourne received 13.3 per cent more buyer inquiries than it did in the first half of last year. That’s even faster than the global rate of growth of 8.7 per cent. Melbourne certainly beats Australia as a whole, with inquiries nationally down [by] 9.7 per cent in the first half compared to a year ago.”
Ms Lu said that Chinese investors are “aware of Victoria’s stamp duty”, and while that figures into investment-oriented buyers’ calculations, it “doesn’t have much impact on lifestyle and education buyers”.
“Australia is popular because of the educational opportunities it offers and its reliable investment environment.”
She said that Chinese investors' "top goals" include risk diversification and their children's education.
"These push factors provide an underlying strength to demand in Melbourne," Ms Lu said.
“It [Melbourne] also is a relatively safe city, offers a good lifestyle, has a large Chinese community, and provides employment opportunities."
Juwai.com noted that the value of Chinese buyer inquiry prices has dropped from about $394,000 in the first half of 2016 to $350,000 in the first half of 2017.
However, Ms Lu said that there is "no lack" of Chinese demand and predicts 2017 to be one of the two or three biggest years for Chinese buyer demand on record.
[Related: Foreign buyers slugged in WA budget]