Bloomberg reported on Tuesday (May 25) that Chinese investors have been buying luxury real estate in several different countries in and around Asia, as this has proven to be a “good hiding place” from the economic blow of the coronavirus pandemic.
The report states that in China these investors are buying top-end housing as a safeguard against expected inflation rates as well as a weakening currency, resulting in a rise in prices of upmarket housing, as well as boosting several other property markets in Asia still reeling from the severe blow from the coronavirus outbreak.
Among the favoured locations for new purchases of luxury real estate are Seoul, Shanghai, Singapore and Sydney. As buyers have taken virtual tours or have been able to visit these areas once restrictions were eased, real estate markets have enjoyed support from the purchases. In London and New York, in contrast, real estate sales have been down due to the pandemic.
In Singapore, even as the circuit breaker has yet to be lifted, luxury properties have been bought online by Chinese investors, including six Marina One Residences apartments worth S$20 million. The buyers bought the apartments without even a virtual tour, according to property agent with APAC Realty Ltd.’s unit ERA, Clarence Foo, as reported by Bloomberg.
Another client purchased three 3-bedroom units also at Marina One Residences, for the tidy sum of S$12 million.
The report quotes the head of research and consultancy at OrangeTee & Tie Pte in Singapore, Christine Sun, as saying “Some buyers may want to divert their funds to other countries as the yuan may be devalued further to combat the weakening of their economy.”
In Australia, half of the sales of prime property since March realtor Monika Tu has had were to wealthy Chinese who were in Australia during the outbreak. Ms Tu is the founder of Black Diamondz, whose clientele are Chinese buyers of luxury real estate. Her sales of homes worth between A$7.25 million (S$ 6.79 million) and A$19.5 million (S$ 18.3 million) to Chinese investors have gone up by 25 percent.
In South Korea, inquiries from Chinese investors went up a staggering 180 percent this year in comparison to the last quarter of last year. In New Zealand, inquiries have gone up by 75 percent. In comparison, in the US, inquiries have decreased by 18 percent and in the UK, by 32 percent.
One Asian market that has not benefited from the boost from Chinese investors is Hong Kong, especially due to the recent protests there. In the first quarter of 2020, the price of luxury homes in Hong Kong dropped by 4.5 percent, which is twice that of Singapore.
Bloomberg quotes Clarence Foo as saying, “They view Singapore’s property market as a safe haven because of its stability. It’s a more regulated market compared to say Hong Kong.”
The report adds that there has been an interest in luxury properties in Malaysia as well, specifically in Kuala Lumpur. Zulkhairi Anwar, a Malaysian realtor, said that this is due to prices being cheaper than in Singapore.
“I don’t think the pandemic would deter the Chinese from coming back. Malaysia appeals to them because there’s a substantial local Chinese population here, making it easier for them to integrate, and our luxury properties are still cheaper than the likes of Singapore.” —/TISG