Tax changes to drive Chinese property hunters away from Australia

Chinese demand for Australian residential real estate is expected to take a hit, once new state and federal tax amendments come into effect.

Investment bank UBS said that while 78 percent of all property transactions by overseas Chinese buyers took place within the past five years, interest has already “started to fade over the past six months”, The Australian reports.

“I think it’s the combination of factors. Prices have been very strong in Australia so there is now a discussion that the cycle has started to peak and there are the tax changes that have come through along with the tax controls,” UBS head of global property research Kim Wright said.

Recently stamp duty in NSW jumped from four to eight percent, while land tax surcharges surged from 0.75 percent to two percent.

Capital gains tax exemptions, previously available to overseas buyers, were also removed in a raft of changes introduced in the 2017 May budget. New residential developments also face a 50 percent ownership cap.

Where Chinese buyers initially focused their attention on the London property market, their attention eventually migrated to Australia, with investors snapping up property in Sydney, Melbourne and Brisbane over the past two years.

But that interest is now shifting again, with Thailand expected to become the next area of interest – in particular, Bangkok.

A UBS survey last year found that of all property bought by Chinese buyers, only 76 percent ended up being actually occupied, while 25 percent only used their purchased properties “occasionally”.


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