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
Jerry Schwartz Snaps Up Ralan’s Paradise Resort for $43m
Hotel mogul Jerry Schwartz has secured the Gold Coast’s Paradise Resort, a former asset of collapsed property developer Ralan Group, for $43 million.
Ralan Group, which went into administration in August, paid $75 million for the hotel in 2015, and had plans to bulldoze the resort for three towers of Ruby apartments.
Schwartz says he plans for a major refurbishment to upgrade the 360-room hotel which spans a 2.5 hectare site in Surfers Paradise.
“I am very optimistic about the Gold Coast market, despite new supply coming on stream,” Schartz said of his latest purchase which settles in February next year.
The latest buy marks Schwartz second hotel on the Gold Coast following the acquisition of the five-star Hilton Surfers Paradise for $70 million from Chinese Group Ja Feng in January.
Speaking on his refurbishment plans, Schwartz said the resort offered “upside potential”.
“I know that previous owners planned to knock down the resort and redevelop it for apartments,” Schwartz said.
“But we believe there is tremendous demand for quality family-friendly resorts, especially in such prime locations as Surfers Paradise.
“I have taken over two other resorts – the Fairmont Resort Blue Mountains and Crowne Plaza Hunter Valley – and revived them as a result of diversifying their markets.”
Schwartz is Australia’s largest private owner of hotels, with the latest buy expanding the Schwartz Family Company’s portfolio to 15 hotels.
The portfolio also includes the Four Points Sheraton at Central park in Sydney, the Sofitel Darling Harbour, and Rydges World Square.
Ralan Group, led by director William O’Dwyer, went into voluntary administration earlier this year leaving apartment buyers at risk after investigations found a shortfall of $277 million in the developer’s trust account for deposits.
Last week, Ralan’s receivers put the Sapphire site, a whole city block located on the fringes of Surfers Paradise, on the market.
Ralan had purchased the 11,470sq m city block site also in 2015 for just under $20 million.
Sunland Wins Approval for Mermaid Waters Apartments
Residential developer Sunland has received approval from the Gold Coast City Council for its $240 million lakefront apartment development in Mermaid Waters on the Gold Coast.
The residential development is part of the Queensland-based developer’s masterplanned community The Lakes, a 42-hectare $1.3 billion project that will eventually have its own community and leisure-lifestyle retail village.
Plans, lodged late in 2018 for 289 new high-end apartments spanning four buildings, were revised in June increasing the number of apartments to 310.
The four mid-rise towers, designed by ex-Zaha Hadid designer Contreras Earl, will offer one, two and three-bedroom apartments overlooking the newly-named “Lake Unity” and ground level retail.
The two 10-storey buildings at the centre of the design feature ground-level retail and commercial spaces that will link to the future retail village, while the two 12-storey buildings will accommodate extensive resident amenities.
The approved buildings form part of a mega-site bordered by Bermuda Street and Hooker Boulevard that was acquired by Sunland Group in 2014 for $61 million.
Managing director Sahba Abedian said the project would provide unique opportunities capturing lakefront, city skyline, and hinterland views.
“The Lanes Residences combines leading architecture with retail, lifestyle and leisure amenities of an unprecedented scale.”
“The buildings will link to the future retail village at The Lanes and feature their own ground-level retail and commercial spaces, as well as extensive resident amenities.”
The development will also feature a 4,500sq m community lakeside green, which will form the centrepiece of project and become a focal point for the outdoor retail promenade.
The ASX-listed developer, which builds apartments and housing lots, currently holds a portfolio of 4,292 residential homes with a total end vale of $3 billion.
Earlier this year, Sunland offloaded the convenience retail asset Lakeview Retail Centre adjoining The Lakes precinct for $20 million in order to up capital to invest back into the masterplanned community.
Early works have already commenced, with two tower cranes installed on site with the project set to be launched to the market early 2020.
Construction is also under way at Sunland’s $250 million high-rise development on Hedges Avenue in Mermaid Beach.
The developer has plans with the Gold Coast City Council for a 16-level boutique apartment project located at 180 Marine Parade in Labrador.
Five Australian Cities Make World’s Top 30 Luxury Residential Markets
Australia’s ultra-luxury residential market, largely unaffected by the impact of recent lending restrictions, has continued to record positive growth in the prestige sector of the market.
Sydney, Melbourne, Brisbane, the Gold Coast and Perth make up the five Australian cities which rank in the world’s top 30 cities for luxury residential price growth.
The major east coast cities of Sydney, Melbourne, Brisbane and the Gold Coast have now recorded 25 quarters, or more, of positive annual growth for luxury property, according to Knight Frank’s Prime Global Cities Index for the third quarter 2019.
Defined as the most desirable and expensive property in a given location, prime property is generally the top 5 per cent of each market, by value.
Sydney ranks 17th in the global rankings, with 2.6 per cent annual growth, Melbourne at 21st spot recording 2 per cent growth.
Brisbane followed closely ranking 22nd with 2 per cent growth, the Gold Coast which was included in the Index for the first time earlier this year moved up the rankings to 26 with a 1.3 per cent increase, and Perth ranked at 30th recording a 0.7 per cent rise.
Knight Frank’s Prime Global Cities Index
|City||12-Month Change (Q3 2018 -Q3 2019)|
|26. Gold Coast||1.3%|
Knight Frank’s head of prestige Residential Deborah Cullen says the top end of the market is showing more consideration and time in transacting.
“There is still strong interest from local and expat buyers for blue ribbon areas and for “best in class” assets, in particular the waterfront areas of Sydney,” Cullen said.
“Growth in prime property prices closely follows the performance on the stock exchange,” Knight Frank head of residential research Michelle Ciesielski said.
“And there have been some significant gains made on the Australian sharemarket in 2019.
“Collectively the Australian prime market has continued to see sustainable growth of 2 per cent in the year ending September 2019, whilst the sharemarket recorded a 7.7 per cent return,” Ciesielski said.
Slowdown gathers pace in top-tier cities
The global cities index increased by just 1.1 per cent in the year to September 2019, down from 3.4 per cent last year, with slower prime price growth attributable to mounting economic headwinds.
Despite a longer-than-expected period of loose monetary policy and steady wealth creation, the report notes that luxury sales volumes are at their weakest for several years in many of the first tier global cities.
“Slower global economic growth– the IMF lowered its 2019 forecast from 3.3 per cent to 3 per cent in October – along with escalating headwinds: US-China trade relations, Hong Kong’s political tensions, a US presidential election in 2020 and the Brexit conundrum are influencing buyer sentiment,” the index notes.
Moscow recorded the highest rate of growth with an 11 per cent increase over the year to September.
The report notes that Moscow leads the index largely due to strengthening demand and the completion of a number of high-end projects in prime areas like Ostozhenka and Tverskoy.
The prime global cities index is a valuation-based index that tracks the movement in prime residential prices in local currency, using data, across 40 cities.
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