The Chinese Network

The new spruikers of Australian property aren’t real estate agents, or even based in the country.

Rather, they’re migration agents, accounting practices, insurance companies, mortgage brokers and wealth management businesses in China.

Many are striving to be a one-stop shop for their clients, connecting people planning to migrate, and high net worth individuals, with real estate agents and developers in Australia.

There was an enormous labyrinth of referral networks growing every day.

A referral network introduces the property, but cannot transact without a license to sell real estate.

Australia was a significant beneficiary of the incredible wealth that was coming out of China, and referral networks helped agents and marketing company tap into some very significant people.

“So it’s a friend of a friend, somebody who’s connected, they tap into this group of very wealthy people, they rope the idea around Sydney.

“That’s how business is done in China – they take them out for dinner, they introduce them to the concept.”

Blake Liu, general manager at Beijing-based wealth management company, said his firm’s clients included people looking to migrate – or have children studying overseas – and high net worth individuals.

There were also people reaching retirement age who didn’t like China’s air quality, he said, and those who were concerned their wealth would be taken by the government.

Based on the clients’ needs, the company would approach developers or agents in that country.

“So our part is to value add to the service,” Mr Li said. “And our revenue is all from the commission”.

Mr Li said there were also very limited financial products available in China for high net worth individuals, so foreign property was one investment option.

Mr Leoncelli said Chinese buyers were also investing in Australian real estate because it was safe, transparent and highly regulated.

“The returns are not spectacular by any stretch of money – they never have been – we do not offer rampant capital growth like other Asian countries,” he said.

“We’re not an emerging market, we’re very established, a very mature market and we offer very steady long-term return.”

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