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Don’t be misled on Chinese foreign investment: read the facts

As Prime Minister Tony Abbott shifts his Asian tour focus to China, it seems likely the threshold for formal approval on Chinese investment in Australia will be raised to A$1 billion. But any move to open…

The government is seeking a free trade agreement with China by the end of the year, but concerns still remain about Chinese investment in Australia. Daniel Munoz/AAP

As Prime Minister Tony Abbott shifts his Asian tour focus to China, it seems likely the threshold for formal approval on Chinese investment in Australia will be raised to A$1 billion.

But any move to open the doors to more investment from China seems destined to drive an outbreak of public concern, based more on Chinese whispers than on fact.

A case in point is last month’s outcry about Chinese real estate investors outbidding Australian home buyers, which resulted in the institution of a parliamentary inquiry by Treasurer Joe Hockey.

The starting point was the publication of the Foreign Investment Review Board’s 2012/13 annual report. The report listed a figure of A$5.9 billion for Chinese real estate applications that included commercial and residential real estate. This figure was picked up by various media and analysts, some highly respected, and was soon being represented as $6 billion worth of actual purchases of Australian real estate by Chinese buyers.

Such misrepresentation is due to a misunderstanding of what Australian Bureau of Statistics and FIRB statistics actually represent and the lack of statistics that specifically report incoming new foreign investment into Australia.

With the non-approval threshold for Chinese investment likely to rise to $1 billion in line with the agreements the prime minister has reached with Japan and Korea, there is likely to be more unrest about Chinese planned and real investment if the available information is not understood and used responsibly.

The data gap

While reports and analysis on Chinese investment in Australia mainly draw data from the ABS and FIRB, neither are set up to report on inflowing new investment, such as Chinese investment in the real estate sector.

The ABS international investment position (IIP) account reports annual direct investment stock and flow data from all foreign countries, including China. The bureau carries out a quarterly Survey of International Investment (SII) and collects data on FDI. This approach represents the balance of investment outflows and inflows, but not inflows per se. Moreover, the ABS provides aggregate investment data at the national level and does not give detailed breakdowns for sectors such as real estate.

FIRB’s annual reports present statistics on approved investment in Australia by foreign interests. Investment below FIRB’s approval thresholds is not reflected in FIRB data, unless it is made by state-owned enterprises.

From 2005, FIRB started to report investment applications from China disaggregated by sector. In the context of real estate investment, FIRB requires foreign persons who want to buy land for commercial development or acquire residential real estate in Australia to notify or gain approval before purchase, unless new dwellings are bought from a developer who has obtained pre-approval to sell to foreign buyers.

FIRB approval figures tend to be higher than actual new investment, as they reflect intended and approved investment, some of which may never eventuate. FIRB approval statistics by their nature may include double and multiple counting when more than one investor applies for the same investment project.

New data sheds new light

A completely new set of data has been set up by a joint team from KPMG and the University of Sydney Business School in association with the Chinese Studies Centre. This dataset on annual inflows of Chinese direct investment to Australia offers an alternative source of information on real estate investment in Australia. An interactive website built upon this dataset will be launched by the Minister for Trade and Investment, Andrew Robb, in Shanghai today.

Since 2011, KPMG and The University of Sydney have been working on a new database to close a noticeable gap in public information. These data include Chinese direct investments in mergers and acquisitions, joint ventures and greenfield projects, including commercial real estate deals above $5 million.

According to this dataset, in 2013, 20 real estate investment deals were recorded, worth a total of US$1.29 billion and amounting to 14% of the annual Chinese investment inflow. In particular, NSW has attracted the majority of Chinese commercial real estate investment. 77% of this investment has gone into NSW, followed by Victoria (15%), Queensland (5%), and Western Australia (2%). By ownership of the investors, 65% of the investment volume was made by Chinese private enterprises, while 35% was made by state-owned enterprises.

Based on this data it’s clear Chinese real estate investment has a substantial commercial component which adds new real estate to the Australian market.

Additional anecdotal evidence points to the long term nature of Chinese investment which allows buyers to take a long-term stance that might be reflected in higher bidding prices. Finally, in these areas there is little difference between private and state-owned investors who pursue similar projects and compete against each other.

Join the conversation

71 Comments sorted by

  1. Comment removed by moderator.

  2. John C Fairfax

    logged in via Twitter

    I think the way Australian law is at present, it is possible for investors from various other nations to buy up just about all Australian property and business. The problem for Australians is not just coming from China. The problem is the relevant law in Australia.

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    1. harry oblong

      tree surgeon

      In reply to John C Fairfax

      yes,housing should not be an investment option supported by government policies.
      housing should not be taxed in any way ,not gst,not council rates,not stamp duty,just like air food and water ,shelter is a basic requirement for life......

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    2. Steven Fuller

      Asset Management

      In reply to harry oblong

      This extremely naive. Housing is a basic human requirement, however council rates support the services you require at your residence, such as waste removal.

      Are you suggesting that it should not be possible to own more than one house since human need only requires one? How would that work exactly? If you are not suggesting that, are you suggesting that subsequent dwellings are also exempt from the the taxes etc?

      The answer to the issues may be to make primary residences exempt and easier to…

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    3. James Hill

      Industrial Designer

      In reply to Steven Fuller

      Harry may be closer to the mark Steven, inso far that failure to provide affordable housing has flow on effects to the the rest of society and the economy.
      Housing, beyond the capital gain which is at the heart of housing speculation, is an asset which does not produce wealth.
      To quote the father of Economics, "A dwelling house, as such, adds nothing to the income of its inhabitants".
      Yet the Australian mortgage market stands at $1.75 Trillion, equal to the US' public debt and the houses themselves…

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    4. Steven Fuller

      Asset Management

      In reply to James Hill

      Regardless, the "argument" put forward by Harry will not work. Negative gearing allows far more than mere speculation on capital gains. To put it simply, the Father of Economics" may have it correct for the dwelling you reside in, however he is completly wrong regarding (successful) investment property. My negatively geared property has a net cost of almost zero at the moment while the equity is being built off another's money it is also appreciating in overall value. In the not too distant future…

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    5. James Hill

      Industrial Designer

      In reply to Steven Fuller

      Hard to argue, Steven, with the evidence of your own experience, however although employment is created by investment in the construction of new dwellings that economic tactic put in place in the US in the face of collapsing manufacturing industries, came crashing down in the GFC.
      Perhaps the re distribution of wealth in that instance through wages for construction and materials was not enough to sustain the interest on the outstanding loans.
      Though you indicate that negative gearing has allowed…

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    6. David Stein

      Businessman

      In reply to James Hill

      Great discussion - and I don't believe you are too cynical James.
      As the old saying goes, when the bellhop starts telling you about his investment portfolio, it's time to sell.
      Interest rates, lending practices and government policy are all at full volume on housing investment. APRA has done the country no favors through it's inept regulation of bank lending as interest rates came down to unprecedented low levels. Parents as guarantors, 110%, 115% equity loans, doing the exact opposite of what…

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    7. Steven Fuller

      Asset Management

      In reply to James Hill

      I would not put it past our current self interested politicians to consider such an undertaking in any area if they were in position to do so such as the NP politician. At this point in time I agree it would be all but politically impossible to do so with the opposition it would face. Also cynical, I can see our slowly eroding right to protest and objection coupled with legal safeguards for politicians making the decisions leading to such an event. That they are able to approve the world's largest…

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    8. Alan Gannaway

      logged in via email @yahoo.com.au

      In reply to Steven Fuller

      I'd argue , as a renter, that rents are already at the limit of what the market can bear. The ability of renters to pay is a ceiling that can't be broken.

      I think the argument about keeping rents down was a flimsy excuse for introducing bad policy.

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    9. Rick Sullivan

      Vast and Various

      In reply to Alan Gannaway

      I've yet to hear a good argument for foreign investment or negative gearing being a good thing for anyone other than those people who don't really NEED the money. When I was a child, most working class people like us could rely on the fact that they could get relatively cheap, good government housing at affordable rent. Governments have now all but relinquished that responsibility. We've now got a situation where one person can own multiple houses and live off inflated rents, driving the price of real estate out of the reach of young people simply trying to buy a roof over their heads. It's wrong, and no amount of spin will convince me that excessive ownership - foreign OR local - of investment properties - is a good thing for anyone other than people who don't really need it.

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    10. Jane Middlemist

      citizen

      In reply to Rick Sullivan

      It is staggering that governments' didn't ban negative gearing decades ago. When all Australians own a home would be time enough to allow multiple properties owned by one person and then WITHOUT negative gearing. It must be blindingly obvious - even to politicians - that people who can afford to buy multiple homes do not need financial assistance from the government, i.e. taxpayers. Without negative gearing these 'investors'/freeloaders might invest in something productive, like new businesses.

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    11. Rick Sullivan

      Vast and Various

      In reply to Jane Middlemist

      Negative gearing is the worst kind of freeloading, yet those who practice it are treated as some kind of heroes. It's not against the law, sadly, but it's immoral, putting home ownership out of the reach of young people starting out. Hideous, unfair, and motivated by greed.

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    12. Ian Rudd
      Ian Rudd is a Friend of The Conversation.

      Retired accountant & unapologetic dissident

      In reply to Steven Fuller

      Whether property price rises are wealth producing really comes down to how one defines that term which I will give some further thought to but nothing is produced and no service is rendered by rising prices. I think all this asset price inflation does is to redistribute wealth largely from the poor to the rich. Nothing is created; there is no overall benefit to society.

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    13. Frank Moore

      Consultant

      In reply to Ian Rudd

      Supporting infrastructure cannot sustain the influx of numbers associated with the investment, no exporting orientated jobs will be created - again, only import focused businesses - rent seekers - are set as largely unchallenged beneficiaries of a subsidised imported market.
      There is a loss of ownership of nation, a loss of sovereignty, a diminishing of our standard of living - our quality of life - so I dispute your assertion that "there is no overall benefit to society". There is in fact a profound loss to our society.

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    14. Jane Middlemist

      citizen

      In reply to Frank Moore

      I just finished watching Big Ideas on ABC 24, a debate between two teams of 3 persons per team. The only one I recognised was Judith Sloane. There was at least one farmer on each side.
      The proposition was "Foreign investment should be strictly limited. The audience voted 59% in the affirmative. It can be watched on Iview.
      After listening to all the arguments for and against I totally agree with Frank Moore's opinion on the matter and I am glad that the majority of the audience on the show agreed…

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    15. Garry Baker

      researcher

      In reply to Jane Middlemist

      Yes, I watched some of the proceedings as well Jane. Know it or not, there's a groundswell of nationalism coming to the fore in Australia, and lo behold the politician who doesn't take it on board.

      Sure Mr Abbott and his tribe like to strut the global stage, but they can be neutered in no time. . Indeed, maybe they don't get it, but times nearly up for them, and they have to start acting for ordinary Australians and the next generation... And they have to do it with conviction !... Opposed…

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    16. James Hill

      Industrial Designer

      In reply to Steven Fuller

      We might agree that the housing market seems set against the provision of affordable housing?
      Though some councils are sensibly allowing existing owners to to build granny flats, which they are free to rent to people who are not their grannies..
      And increase in supply at minimal cost, taking advantage of existing infrastructure.

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    17. James Hill

      Industrial Designer

      In reply to David Stein

      Yes, why, given the historical precedent, would modern Chinese people not try to replicate the methods used to establish the enclave of Hong Kong.
      Former PM Howard was keen to peddle the concept of the long term lease to allow Indigenous people to "Unlock" the wealth of their land.
      Why not for entire coastal river valleys in Australia.

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    18. Frank Moore

      Consultant

      In reply to Jane Middlemist

      Thanks for your thoughts Jane Middlemist!
      The Conversation Moderator doesnt share your thoughts and managed to whack my contribution out of the park.
      I cant see why. Nothing racist etc stated. Just uncomfortable facts.
      Tony Abbott's behaviour and LNP policies seem to fall into The Pentagon's most recent paper on how this obscene communist dictatorship are playing the west for the fools that we have "leading" us.
      Read it and see if you can see the thoughts, policies and actions of the major parties…

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    19. Jane Middlemist

      citizen

      In reply to Frank Moore

      Yes Frank, I think that we, not in the wealthiest top few, will all be the poorer for this government's policies and actions. As a mother and grandmother I am very worried about the future.
      About the moderator, I repesct TC's right to make its own rules but I think 'reporting people' is counter-productive as we are adults and, in my view, we can sort out offensive comments by suitable replies or just plain ignoring them. Keep trying …

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  3. Fergus Ferguson

    Political Exile

    The key to production is Transfer Pricing. You produce in Australia where there is high taxation, but you sell your produce to a export company (yourself) for as near to zero profit as the ATO inspectors will tolerate without prosecuting you for deliberate tax avoidance. Then you export your goods to a second country that has low taxation rates and then either value add or on-sell for the best price you can get, and take your profit there. The first country gains nothing.

    Australia will be that first country.

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  4. Marcus Anderson

    logged in via email @marcusanderson.com.au

    Do you just love the pro-China sentiments in this propaganda?

    The patently obvious fact, for your information Dr Li, is that any Foreign Investment in real estate, particularly residential real estate, has the effect of inflating prices out of the reach of local residents.

    This FACT has been established over and over again in many, many different countries around the world. Wherever foreign investment is significant enough to affect supply, prices go up. Indeed, even when supply is not affected…

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    1. Marcus Anderson

      logged in via email @marcusanderson.com.au

      In reply to Marcus Anderson

      ERRATA: 1st sentence should have been:

      "Don't you just love the pro-China sentiments in this propaganda?"

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    2. Ken Dyer

      Knowledge Seeker

      In reply to Marcus Anderson

      Marcus, when I read publicity blurbs or "news" releases such as this, I cringe. The real estate rent seeking parasites love it, and I include government at all levels in that description.

      Property is an unproductive asset. The only reason I can see to encourage Chinese investment, investment that will almost invariably take the form of land banking, is to keep values high to support the increasing debt load on existing and new housing stocks.

      In other words, encouraging Chinese investment is…

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    3. David Stein

      Businessman

      In reply to Marcus Anderson

      I thought we were pursuing free trade agreements in China - incredible how quickly the discussion goes from trade to 'investment'. It would be absurd for the Abbott government to confuse the two issues and allow any foreign power to deviate from what should be uniform foreign investment rules. There can be no intellectual case for different rules on foreign investment for different foreign powers.
      Moderating asset price bubbles must be a key policy consideration for any government. Monetary and regulatory tools must remain intact, be it lending standards, foreign capital flows or interest rates. Losing control over any of these policy levers would be a dreadful mistake. Have we not learnt the lessons from the US, UK and other housing bubbles which occurred only 4 years ago?

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    4. Garry Baker

      researcher

      In reply to Marcus Anderson

      I agree Marcus

      Hopefully the authors of this story haven't swallowed the FIRB line .. the article reads like a government sales brochure, full of high sounding statistics and certainties, and to take it as any sort of gospel would be foolish indeed.

      The simple reality is, the FIRB haven't a clue of what has been going on at street level for years... and they are certainly not a public watchdog in any sense of the word... just a rubber stamp office, acting as a servant for the Treasury Dept…

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    5. Garry Baker

      researcher

      In reply to Marcus Anderson

      Marcus, since you speak of your home city of Perth

      Wu Puingai, who is investing $700 million in Western Australia’s Ord River irrigation area, plans to spend a similar amount on Perth real estate over the next three years.
      http://www.afr.com/p/national/china_wu_puingai_eyes_perth_property_h4qEesbrMAxSGgUUKMBWnL

      However, don't feel too bad about his trivial $700m ambitions - QLD is a large target as well
      http://www.couriermail.com.au/news/queensland/foreign-ownership-register-reveals-the-great-haul-of-china/story-e6freoof-1226518480103

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    6. Fergus Ferguson

      Political Exile

      In reply to Garry Baker

      It is interesting to see the difference between two neighboring cities who have different property tax laws. This is anecdotal, but it will give you an idea...

      In Seattle, you pay an annual property tax. It isn't huge, but it is significant, and unless you want to bleed money you will want your investment property rented.
      Vancouver has a much different tax scheme, and is replete with magnificent steel and glass apartment buildings. Most are vacant - owned by asian investors who use them as a way of hiding money in a safe location outside a bank.
      I would suggest that Vancouver apartment property prices are about double those of Seattle.

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  5. Rick Sullivan

    Vast and Various

    Am I seriously supposed to believe that foreigners buying up Australian real estate does NOT make it harder for Australians to own property in our own country? This article is spin at its best.

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    1. Jane Middlemist

      citizen

      In reply to Rick Sullivan

      I don't believe it either; and land-banking (using residential housing) has been thoroughly analysed by posters on other threads as well.

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    2. David Stein

      Businessman

      In reply to Jane Middlemist

      Correct, Jane. Supply and demand is not a difficult concept.
      The thing that bugs me is we seem to approach these agreements by asking - what can we give away, rather than attempting to create a level playing field. I don't believe any Australian can purchase real property in China - perhaps someone will correct me if I'm wrong.
      In other words, we are already giving China an enormous leg up over Australian investors. Maybe the negotiations should start by asking China why we should keep their privileged status, and what can they give us to maintain it?

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    3. Jane Middlemist

      citizen

      In reply to David Stein

      I agree David, but am still unable to understand why our PM thinks it's OK to preference the welfare of other nations over ours.
      Dorothy Rowe, Australian psychologist, wrote lots of books (about 10 I think) for non-psychologists. In one of them she makes the point that a lot of unhappiness could be avoided if we just accepted the fact that the world, life, is unfair. She says the indignation about unfairness serves only to make us unhappy because life has always been so and will continue to be unfair.
      I still think though, that trying to increase the fairness quotient is a worthwhile use of our time, ( but I have pretty low expectations …)

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    4. Jane Middlemist

      citizen

      In reply to Jane Middlemist

      I meant, I agree with :
      "… negotiations should start by asking China why we should keep their privileged status, and what can they give us to maintain it?"

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    5. David Stein

      Businessman

      In reply to Jane Middlemist

      Hi Jane - thanks, I will check out Dorothy - appreciate the recommendation.
      And, I agree, accept that there will be a measure of unfairness in life and we will all be much happier. It's a lesson we need to be reminded of much more often!

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  6. John Clark

    Manager

    So the recording and classification of foreign investment is incomplete (and dated)? The empirical evidence is clear. Young homebuyers are not concerned with the high thresholds. They simply want a home to live in, which is becoming less achievable. As part of the Western World that exploited less advanced countries in the past, we should be able to recognise the trends, and be aware of the impacts.

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  7. Steven Fuller

    Asset Management

    This article does very little towards its goal of attempting to calm concerns over foreign real estate investment. Suggesting that there is a gap inthe data may well be good, but those on the ground already know and experience the truth of the issue, whatever the data may show. The argument that foreign buyers require approval, unless developers have approval to sell to offshore owners, means very little when no evidence is shown at what rate these approvals are given, particularly for those under…

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  8. Bronwyn OBrien

    Admin Assistant

    I understand it's easy to be mislead by the media and be influenced by popular thoughts and fears but if I may just bring to your attention a part of this this website. It's from Regional Development Australia Mid North Coast and you'll notice that in the Economic Profile there is a tab that if you click on it displays all the economic data in Chinese. There is no other language and it is only the economic data that is translated. Now I could be completely wrong but in view of this surely anyone who sees this could be excused for thinking that China might have quite a big interest in this region. Once again I could be mistaken.

    http://www.rdamnc.org.au/mid-north-coast/economy-data-app/

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    1. Peter Wood

      logged in via email @ozemail.com.au

      In reply to Bronwyn OBrien

      For me Bronwyn, the fact that the public is not picking up on trends like that is a real concern.

      Where are those in public life who concerned about who owns where we will live in 20 years?

      Keep raising this wherever you can.

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  9. harry oblong

    tree surgeon

    misrepresentation is the new gospel in Australia...if you're not doing it, you're not listened to.........we must thank mr abbott for taking it to new levels ...

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    1. Nicholas Orford

      logged in via email @hotmail.com

      In reply to harry oblong

      It's not Abbott thats misrepresenting the new gospels. It's authors such as those of this propaganda article.

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    2. Michael Hay

      retired

      In reply to Nicholas Orford

      I would suggest that the story is much bigger than merely China.
      Abbott seems to be pursuing a philosophy of world trade at the expense of nationality. The Japanese FTA permits our importing of manufactured items, meaning that there is no need to make them ourselves. The FTA and the high, uncontrolled Australian dollar makes sure of that. So - we export the things that we have and which other countries require and in return we import the items, which could be made in Australia if we had a manufacturing…

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    3. Ashley Weatherstone

      logged in via Facebook

      In reply to Michael Hay

      China are the main focus, there is a cashed up middle class, exchange rate vs aud is up, and the property bubble over there has made a lot of millionaires....

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  10. R. Ambrose Raven

    none

    Obviously this piece was written to minimise the questions being asked about the impact of foreign (in this case, Chinese) buying of residential property. It should be very obvious just how anxious Big Property is to attract foreign money.

    Indeed, it should have been obvious from the time that financial deregulation turned dwellings into a financial instrument that Big Property had a huge incentive to relentlessly drive prices up forever. Once Big Property reached the affordability limits of…

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  11. Ashley Weatherstone

    logged in via Facebook

    Is anyone angry The Conversation haven't picked up on this propaganda? Just look at the misrepresentation of data!

    Also note the following statement at the top of the page:

    "DISCLOSURE STATEMENT
    The authors do not work for, consult to, own shares in or receive funding from any company or organisation that would benefit from this article. They also have no relevant affiliations."

    Surely if either Mr Hendrischke or Ms Li have any investment properties this would be a conflict of interest!

    University of Sydney also has a equities investment portfolio with indirect investment in property.

    Link can be found here: http://sydney.edu.au/invest_capital_mgmt/documents/Top%2020%20holdings,%20end%20Dec%202013.pdf

    and a property portfolio which can be found here:

    http://sydney.edu.au/invest_capital_mgmt/portfolio/

    Is the conversation going to do anything about this? Clearly a conflict of interest!

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    1. Helen Westerman

      Deputy Managing Editor at The Conversation

      In reply to Ashley Weatherstone

      Ashley, I am confident the disclosure statements of both authors as stated are accurate. I stand by them and the authors.

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    2. Ashley Weatherstone

      logged in via Facebook

      In reply to Helen Westerman

      Thanks for the reply Helen.

      Just so we are on the same page, are you stating that the authors do not hold any investment property in Australia? or are you stating that holding an Australian investment property does not fall under a conflict of interest?

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  12. Alex Njoo

    Architect/academic (ret.)

    Imagine the hysterical hue and cry if the Chinese had bought David Jones, instead of Woolworth SA?
    Sinophobia is alive and well in good old White Australia!

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    1. Ashley Weatherstone

      logged in via Facebook

      In reply to Alex Njoo

      Alex this has nothing to do with race. People are mentioning Chineses investors because it is Chineses investors selling up property and buying up big in overseas countries before their asset bubble bursts.

      Everyone would not have an issue with Chinese investment if there was a rule that would over inflate the price of property and it would create jobs.

      Why should the youth of Australia suffer so Chinese millionaires can diversify their property portfolios? Most of whom have made their wealth through an engineered housing bubble in China.

      Explain to me what is racist about people wanting to make sure the working class's needs are put before international millionaires?

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    2. Steven Fuller

      Asset Management

      In reply to Alex Njoo

      Sorry to burst your bubble Alex, but it isn't the source of the investment that is the issue so much as the fact it is not Australian. If any other counrty had as much overall interest here it would be concerning.

      It is very narrow not to understand that since SA has nowhere near the financial interest in this country as China does, the concern regarding it would also be less. This is as you would expect it to be. Nobody is being racist and suggesting that China cannot invest, the argument is to limit overall foreign investment and not to allow any one country a monopoly over it, or us.

      China are in the habit of securing property, land and agriculture for their own future security. Department stores don't fit in with that.

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  13. David Coles

    logged in via Facebook

    Aren't we talking here about a trade deal? Obviously, there are many who are concerned about foreign investment in property and, hopefully, a few less concerned just about Chinese investment. The real issue what benefit do we hope to obtain. If the deal delivers more than we lose then it will be a good one and, if not, it won't be.

    Whether or not this piece is propaganda is not particularly relevant. The only concern is that the information provided is correct and, though I haven't checked each of the sources, it appears to be so.

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    1. In reply to David Coles

      Comment removed by moderator.

  14. Deborah Chubb

    Artist

    I agree with Steve Fuller, It has NOTHING to do with race, some of my dearest friends are Chinese.
    China has their own agenda, they are over populated and it's a well known fact that food will be scarce in the future. China is securing their own future, and who can blame them, it's human nature to survive at any cost. Read your history books, civilisations have always done it, usually through war. It's instinctual. Here's the thing..I want to eat and survive and have a place to live too! We need to protect our own interests as well, secure our own survival, we are lucky to be in a country like Australia, but I am worried, me, my children, grandchildren, will never be able to afford to buy our own home, that's a fact. I work full time and make art as well and just make it through life. You cannot tell me Chinese investment is good for Australia and it's people. I LIVE in the western suburbs of Melbourne, come over here and tell me it's not happening.

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  15. Alan Gannaway

    logged in via email @yahoo.com.au

    This article is pretty fuzzy and fails to answer the questions it identifies.
    Also-"Based on this data it’s clear Chinese real estate investment has a substantial commercial component which adds new real estate to the Australian market."- it may be clear to you buddy but not to most of us; you need to back these kind of statements with at least a try at a lay persons explanation of the conclusion you seem to have drawn but not justified.

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  16. Ai Rui Sheng

    Retired

    Will foreigners be allowed to buy in China? Currently it is difficult with many regulations and when they come to sell sometimes they find they have no legal title.

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  17. Fergus Ferguson

    Political Exile

    Oahu is an interesting place. The native locals have a tough time with finding employment, and often scrabble pretty hard to find what few jobs are out there. No manufacturing. Little agriculture. Only service jobs. Sound familiar? Many are forced to live a long way from the big shiny buildings on the west end of the island where the tourists don't go (If they are smart). It is a very nasty place. Dirty, dangerous, depressing.
    The military and middle class live in the middle and eastern side of…

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    1. Garry Baker

      researcher

      In reply to Fergus Ferguson

      Sounds like a recipe for some of Australia's cities, given the ramp up in pricing, and the ample proof that large numbers of high end residential properties remain unoccupied

      However, as with Oahu, the new owners will need servants and footmen to serve their needs

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    2. In reply to Garry Baker

      Comment removed by moderator.

    3. Garry Baker

      researcher

      In reply to Fergus Ferguson

      Fergus.. perhaps I shouldn't have been so cutting, but I did read your first hand account of conditions there... and I'm one for street level observations (opposed to this rubbery statistical stuff)

      These realities are more of a model on how 21st century colonisation should proceed. ie: No need for invasions or armed force, just buy the place. More or less what has been happening in Australia for some years now. ...It will just take longer

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    4. Fergus Ferguson

      Political Exile

      In reply to Garry Baker

      Gary: They deleted my comment, but I just put it straight back again. I think it is a valid illustration.

      And you're right. The military breaks things. Unpleasant. It is easier to just take the candy off the baby when no one is looking.

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    5. Garry Baker

      researcher

      In reply to Fergus Ferguson

      I read it Fergus, and suspect it might have been a bit too pub talkie - thus the delete. However, your first hand observations at street level are most relevant

      As a long time student of the Colonial days in Australia (and elsewhere), I have a fair idea of how modern day tactics should proceed.

      You do know of course, the natives took a dislike to Captain Cook - so they ate him.

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  18. Rod Govers

    Retired IT administrator

    What's not being counted in the foreign investments review, and which I consider could be quite substantial, is the amount of property being bought by Chinese residents in Australia who are buying on behalf of family, or other other interested parties, in China.

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