Business / Industries

Chinese homebuyers set sights on Brisbane

By Wu Yiyao (China Daily) Updated: 2016-07-11 07:47

When 52-year-old Wang Meiju from South China's Guangzhou province visited Brisbane in June, she was on a very tight schedule. Her itinerary for the five-day trip was crammed with visits to as many as five property agents.

To be able to view dozens of homes shortlisted by them in advance, she chose to skip the city's most famous tourist attraction: the koala sanctuary.

"My daughter is going to study in Brisbane next year. I am buying a house for her so she could stay there," said Wang.

Her 18-year-old daughter will complete high school next year and then will enroll in a Brisbane university. She has already applied to four universities for a place.

Wang said, "We (our family) examined almost every aspect of housing from the perspective of an international student. We believe Brisbane ticks all the boxes in our list."

Said boxes are safety, educational resources, natural environment, the possibility of staying on after education, prospects for a post-study job or starting a business, and affordability of housing.

If any more encomia for the city were required, Sisi Ye, a sales manager with CBRE, provides them. "Brisbane is safe, has a handful of prestigious universities, and is very clean and tidy. The city aspires to grow its population, which means more jobs may be created, and housing and living are more affordable than in Sydney and Melbourne.

"The city is not too big and crowded, comfortably organized with plenty of public spaces for entertainment and leisure, and traffic is not very congested. It is a nice place to strive for work-life balance and to raise a family. Actually, many buyers would feel that the city's environment speaks for itself."

According to the Brisbane 2022 Plan, the city aims to have an economy of A$217 billion ($163.16 billion), 1.5 million jobs, and A$75,000 per capita income.

Not surprisingly, Chinese students already account for more than one-third of Brisbane's international student population.

Property agents said there is now an emerging trend of Chinese students' parents buying homes in Brisbane.

Homebuyers like Wang are focusing on newly developed apartments in the city, many of which are still under construction. But some are up for grabs.

Chinese homebuyers find the high-end residences in Brisbane attractive for their prestigious locations and relatively affordable prices, compared with luxury housing in their home cities and other key cities worldwide.

"My father is thinking of selling a two-bedroom apartment in downtown Shanghai and use the proceeds to buy a four-bedroom apartment in Brisbane," said Kathy Chen, an undergraduate student in Brisbane.

John Aitken, chief executive officer at Brisbane Marketing, a wholly-owned subsidiary of Brisbane City Council and an economic development agency, said the city would love to welcome more international students in future.

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