Chinese investors and immigrants purchased more than $8 billion in Australian residential property in the space of 12 months, with growing demand forecast to pump another $60 billion into the market over the next six years.
A Credit Suisse analysis released shows Chinese purchased $8.7 billion in 2013-14, up 60 per cent in the previous 12 months.
The Chinese money pumped into Australian housing was the equivalent of 15 per cent of national housing supply, according to the report by analyst Hasan Tevfik.
“We expect $60 billion of additional Chinese demand for Aussie housing over the next six years to 2020. This will be more than double the $28 billion over the past six years,” the report said.
The report said proposed new foreign investment rules may make Australian real estate less attractive for Chinese buyers, but that “the potential erosion of demand will be marginal”.
“After all, Australia is on the doorstep of the greatest wealth creation in three centuries. Despite moderating growth, we expect more Chinese wealth to be invested abroad.”
The proposals should refocus foreign investment demand into new housing and away from established housing, according to Mr Tevfik and his team.
“This is positive for the Australian economy, in our view,” they said.
The report showed that purchases by Chinese buyers were concentrated in Sydney and Melbourne – now ranked amongst the most expensive cities in the developed world on house-price-to-income ratios – with the two cities receiving $7 billion or 80 per cent of Chinese demand.
“Both Australian cities now rate higher on this valuation measure than traditionally unaffordable cities of London, New York and Tokyo.”
Mr Tevfik said growth in Chinese demand for Australian property would be supported by two per cent growth per year in new settlers from China and Hong Kong, while it was assumed the “investment” flows from Chinese buyers would grow at a rate of five per cent per annum.
There were 1.2 million Chinese with more than $US1 million in China, the report said, who “can easily afford to buy an apartment in either Sydney or Melbourne”.
Credit Suisse forecasts the growth rate of Chinese millionaires over the medium term will be around 14 per cent a year.
“So the number of USD millionaires will likely rise to 2.6 million by 2020 or more than the current population of Brisbane.”