The keen appetites of Chinese buyers residing both locally and in their country of origin are fueling a surge in Sydney’s property prices.
Figures from real estate data firm Australian Property Monitors indicate that the parts of Sydney seeing the most exorbitant gains in property prices are invariably those drawing strong interest from Chinese buyers, such as Chatswood, Eastwood and Rhodes.
Prices in some suburbs have leaped by a staggering 27 per cent in the past year, outpacing gains in the overall market by around threefold, and posting growth rates which haven't been seen in Sydney since the start of last decade.
Vendors have reported the strong presence of ethnic Chinese amongst registered bidders at Sydney's real estate auctions, as well as their propensity to pay top dollar for the properties they covet.
Anecdotal data from real estate agencies has supported such reports, with John Carfi, Mirvac Group's residential division head, stating that 90 per cent of its ERA high-rise apartment building in Chatswood recently went to ethnic Asian purchasers, and Sydney developer Billbergia indicating that around 85 per cent of an apartment project launched in Rhodes last year was snapped up by Chinese buyers even prior to the start of construction.
Analysts say Chinese buying has been a significant driver of new apartment purchases over the past 12 to 18 months, providing a major tailwind for Australian property prices.
The RP Data-Rismark Home Value Index indicates that in 2013 home prices in major Australian cities rose at their most rapid rate in five years with growth of 9.8 per cent. Sydney-based consultancy SQM Research sees home prices extending gains this year, with growth of up to 11 per cent in major urban centres.
Chinese investment could also be behind surging property prices in other key markets, with the top entrants on Demographia International's latest survey of the world's least affordable cities all well-established destinations for large volumes of investment or immigration from mainland China.
Hong Kong - officially a part of China yet still a special administrative region enjoying unique status, came in at the top the list, followed by Vancouver, which is home to one of the largest overseas Chinese communities in the Western world.
In Hong Kong, an influx of cash-flush investors from mainland China has driven a doubling of home prices over the past five years, while auction house Sotheby's has revealed that ethnic Chinese comprise the biggest contingent of overseas buyers in Vancouver.