Asian students, Brisbane property, US trade war, Chinese New Year, Indooroopilly, St Lucia

Asian students, Brisbane property, US trade war, Chinese New Year, Indooroopilly, St Lucia

CASHED-UP Chinese buyers are set to bombard the Brisbane property market this year on the back of a trade war with the US and an influx of Asian students.

Foreign families have been flocking to buy homes — predominantly in the city’s west and south — to accommodate the unprecedented number of children studying in Queensland on international student visas.

Ahead of the Chinese New Year officially starting next week, buyers have been in the market for big homes close to good schools in suburbs like Indooroopilly and South Brisbane.

And the number of Chinese buyers looking to the sunshine state is set to grow as investors become increasingly nervous about buying real estate in America.

New figures from Chinese property portal reveal more than 33,000 mainland Chinese and Hong Kong students were studying in Queensland in 2018 — up from about 21,000 in 2015.

That’s a 57 per cent increase in just four years.

Real estate agents have revealed so-called tiger parents from Asia are willing to spend big for homes near the best schools and universities to ensure the success of their child — up to $100,000 more in some cases.

The most popular Queensland suburbs among Chinese buyers in 2018 were St Lucia, Indooroopilly, South Brisbane and Sunnybank, according to chief executive Carrie Law said Chinese buying in Brisbane this year would be supported by strong growth in Chinese wealth, the appeal of Brisbane’s solid market, a lack of other investment opportunities and a possible shift in investment from the US due to the trade war.

Ms Law said the trade war was making some Chinese investors increasingly nervous about buying real estate in the US.

“Some of those investors may turn to Brisbane, the Gold Coast, and other parts of Queensland as a natural alternative,” Ms Law said.

“Chinese students who turn away from US schools and universities may choose Queensland instead.

“Since a lot of the Chinese real estate buying in Queensland is related to housing students, that would have big spill-over effects on local real estate investment.

“The trade war could mean more Chinese investment for Brisbane.”

Ms Law said Chinese buying in Brisbane was partly driven by families whose children were studying in the city and wanted to house them in a property they themselves owned.

“Many of the buyers we work with hope to defray or actually make a profit on their student housing costs,” she said.

“They buy a residence and rent out an extra bedroom to another student as a roommate.

“If the combination of that income and possible capital gains is high enough, the student could complete his or her studies having paid a net of zero for their housing.

“This year, we expect Chinese buyers to continue to focus their demand on new apartments and house and land packages.

“Compared to Sydney, Brisbane is more affordable and its foreign buyer stamp duty is one point lower, at 7 per cent versus 8 per cent.”

A Chinese buyer recently set a building record by paying $4.5 million for a second-hand apartment in the luxury Abian development in Brisbane’s CBD.

“This is just one of many examples that show Chinese buyers are still important,” Ms Law said.

Simon Caulfield of Place Estate Agents – Kangaroo Point, who negotiated the sale of the property at 3501/140 Alice Street, said the buyers had seen value in the Brisbane market, having purchased rural properties and a coastal asset as well as the apartment.

“Because they travel a lot, they love the concierge and privacy (Abian offers),” Mr Caulfield said.

“Everything is at their doorstep being in the CBD, including their son being able to get to school easily at Churchie.”

Robin Yu, principal of RE/MAX Masters- Coopers Plains, said the percentage of local buyers who were born in China had increased in the past five years.

“That’s as opposed to locally born Australians of Chinese descent,” Mr Yu said.

“Today, more often than not, they are Chinese born.”

Mr Yu said Chinese buyers purchasing for their children wanted property that met a certain criteria, including a convenient location, close to schools and close to the Asian community around Sunnybank.

He said they tended to like new houses with small yards.

“They have to travel a lot, so they want it to be easy to maintain,” he said.

“They also don’t have much experience with gardens.”

Pedro Tan, 30, and his fiancee, Sonia Zhuang, 29, have just bought a four-bedroom, brick and tile family home in Calamvale for $695,000.

The young couple from China have lived in Brisbane for nine years, but this is the first home they have bought together.

“The first time we went to the house, we didn’t think we could have it because we thought it was worth a lot more than what we actually paid because the house is so well kept,” Mr Tan said.

“The owner apparently had some very expensive taste.”

Mr Tan said they wanted to live in Calamvale because it was “quiet and peaceful” and “relatively convenient and affordable compared to Sunnybank and those areas”.

“Our parents are overseas, but are probably going to come and visit once or twice a year, so it’s also going to be a comfy home for them to come visit.”

Selling agent Simon Au of RE/MAX Masters said properties in the suburbs of Calamvale, Parkinson and Sunnybank Hills were popular among Chinese buyers as they had lots of family-sized, brick and tile homes.

“The Chinese market is a huge market, and Chinese buyers like to purchase and keep multiple properties — many of them will buy and keep for years and not sell them,” Mr Au said.

“I believe there will be more and more Chinese buyers in the future, as the Chinese see great potential in the Brisbane market, especially the southside areas in and around Sunnybank.”


1. St Lucia

2. Indooroopilly

3. South Brisbane

4. Sunnybank

5. Cairns

6. Benowa

7. Carindale

8. Toowong

9. Southport

10. Calamvale

(Source:, based on online property searches in 2018)


*Convenient location

*Low maintenance

*Small yard

*New house

*Close to schools

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