Potential buyer Michelle Zhang with realtor Michael Pallier at Darling Point.Source:News Corp Australia

CASHED-UP Chinese tourists are set to descend on Australia for Chinese New Year — and many will be going property hunting.

According to a survey of Chinese consumers by realestate site Juwai.com, 26 per cent plan to travel internationally this year and 42 per cent plan to go look at properties during their holiday.

Nearly two thirds (66 per cent) plan to purchase property in the countries they are visiting and 26 per cent said they may consider doing so.

Juwai surveyed 120 Chinese consumers and more than 1200 international real estate agents, including 184 in Australia.

“During Chinese New Year, some agents see no Chinese buyers and others see an abundance of them,” said Juwai chief executive Charles Pittar.

“It depends on the type of product they’re selling and the location. Generally, we find that the wealthier buyers are more likely to combine property hunting with tourism during Chinese New Year. Overall, a majority of agents expect this year to be a busier holiday season than in 2016.”

Fifty-two per cent of realestate agents surveyed said they expected this year to be busier than last.

“It’s not always the case, but often we see a strong correlation between the countries they visit as tourists and the countries where they purchase property,” Mr Pittar said.

“When it comes to immigration, 58 per cent are considering immigrating to the country they are visiting.”

According to the Foreign Investment Review Board’s most recent annual report, the value of approvals for foreign investment in Australian realestate increased 75 per cent in the 2015 financial year to $61 billion, with Chinese accounting for around two-thirds of applications.

But recent crackdowns on Chinese cash leaving the country, and increased taxes on foreign buyers introduced by state governments, may be having an impact.

Jackie Wang from Raine & Horne Ashfield in Sydney’s inner west said she was expecting an increase in Chinese tourists property hunting, but that interest had waned.

“During Chinese New Year we do have travellers come into Australia looking for property while they stay for a week or two,” she said. “But I think there is not as much interest as before.”

She blamed the combination of China’s tighter capital and increased stamp duty surcharges.

Ms Wang said she didn’t make any special effort too woo foreign buyers during Chinese New Year.

“I know some agents have large databases of Chinese nationals, they go to the airport to pick them up, take them to inspections,” she said. “But that’s more the top end of the market, the big mansions, or new off-the-plan properties.”

Mark Lauzon from Sotheby’s International Realty said high net worth Chinese were usually interested in north shore and eastern suburbs waterfront properties in the $5-$10 million range.

“They’re showing interest in the Seaforth area and upper north shore due to the schooling,” he said. “So they’re thinking ahead for when their kids have kids.

“They stay for about a month after Chinese New Year, visiting family who may be studying. We will normally pick them up and drive them to see the properties.”

But Mr Lauzon said interest wasn’t as strong as in previous years. “It won’t be anything like the last three years,” he said. “A lot of our clients have had issues getting money out of China, and [many] have already moved money to Hong Kong or elsewhere.

“And they’re definitely rejigging their budgets to take into account the stamp duty changes.”

“Real estate agents roll out the red carpet for Chinese New Year”, NewsComAu, 2018. [Online]. Available: http://www.news.com.au/finance/real-estate/buying/real-estate-agents-roll-out-the-red-carpet-for-chinese-new-year/news-story/6f7a2a1b6d6dc14551ab6690d72b8ee6. [Accessed: 18- Feb- 2018].