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Welcome Mat is Out for Cashed-up Chinese Buyers

03 May 2013 - Toby Johnstone from

More Chinese buyers are eyeing off Australian property as real estate agents keenly await a flood of cashed-up buyers after last week's historic sale in Point Piper.

Although the selling agent has been silent, several other sources have confirmed the purchaser of Seven Network director Bruce McWilliam's $33 million Wolseley Crescent mansion is from mainland China, with substantial business interests in Australia. The sale was the third-highest in Sydney and prestige agents expect more big sales to follow.

Data from the largest Chinese international property portal,, shows a 61 per cent increase in property searches for Australian residential property since last December.


2012: Bay Street Mosman for $20 million. chief executive Andrew Taylor said the Australian government's Significant Investor Visa as well as the impending convertible currency deal had made Australia the ''preferred property destination'' for Chinese investors. ''It is an exciting time for the Australian property market,'' he said.

Real estate agents are particularly excited by the Chinese government's proposed restraints on domestic real estate speculation.

Raine & Horne CEO Angus Raine said if China started enforcing capital gains tax on home sale profits and legislated higher deposits for the purchase of second homes then ''cashed-up Chinese nationals could look to foreign property markets''.


2013: Wolseley Crescent , Point Piper for $33 million.

He said this ''will surely mean more money flowing into Australian real estate in capital cities such as Sydney''.

Sydneysiders first became aware of the buying power of wealthy Chinese individuals in 2008 when princeling Zeng Wei spent $32.4 million on a Point Piper mansion.

The property known as Craig-y-Mor was once owned by disgraced stockbroker Rene Rivkin but was sold to Mr Wei by businessman Ben Tilley.


2008: Wolseley Road, Point Piper for $32.4 million.

The depth of Mr Wei's pockets made headlines again in 2010 when he gained permission from Woollahra Council to knock down the century-old mansion and spend a further $5 million building a new home. In 2012 a mainland Chinese buyer paid $20 million for a waterfront mansion on 5363 square metres in Mosman.

To protect their anonymity, Chinese buyers often purchase properties through their lawyers under different names.

But agents familiar with the sale on Bay Street, Mosman, indicated the buyer, registered as Ying Li on the title, had planned to follow the example of Mr Wei by knocking down the five-bedroom house and building something new.

Princelings and the super rich are just a fraction of the Chinese buying in Sydney.

Figures from the Australian Bureau of Statistics show the number of Chinese-born people living in Australia increased 54.4 per cent between 2006 and 2011 and not all are interested in the harbour front. The main drawcard for many Chinese business people is the proximity to highly ranked schools.

The sales manager of Knight Frank, Alex Tsaoucis, said that was why many Chinese buyers bought on the upper north shore in suburbs such as Chatswood, St Ives and Killara.

A third of the apartments in the Edgemont development in Killara sold before the launch on Saturday and 70 per cent were picked up by Chinese buyers.

''It's because it is in the catchment of two of the local primary schools that are rated quite highly in the government ratings system,'' he said.