Major Chinese developers plan to launch a lobby group which will argue the case for foreign ownership in Australia.
The group will follow the local model of the Property Council of Australia but with a focus on Chinese developers and Chinese investment. While it is yet to be registered, it is expected to be called the Chinese Developers’ Alliance.
According to The Australian, the organisation will have anchor member companies including Dalian Wanda, Macrolink and Hailiang.
All three are already key players in the nation’s property development market, with Macrolink’s Opera Residences in Sydney selling all its apartments earlier this month. One of the penthouses sold for $27 million — an Australian record for pre-sold apartments.
The 20-storey, 104-apartment Opera Residences at 71 Macquarie Street was sold out within two hours of going on sale off the plan, ensuring $500 million for Macrolink and its local partner, Landream.
Foreign investment has been a hot topic in Australia with new laws regulating foreign investment introduced last year by former treasurer Joe Hockey after concerns young Australians were being priced out of the property market.
The Foreign Investment Review Board, the body which advises the federal government on foreign investment, most recently advised the government against the sale of Ausgrid to Chinese bidders.
And earlier in the year, the treasurer also vetoed the sale to Chinese buyers of S. Kidman and Co, Australia’s largest cattle property, worth more than $370 million.
“Many locals have been blaming Chinese developers or Chinese buyers for pushing up prices. But is that alone the reason? Affordable housing is a topic that needs immediate attention and action,” Hailiang Property Group Australia’s managing director Adrian Liu told The Australian.
“We are happy to work with the government, along with existing local developers, to see if we can help improve that.”
Liu said the government in Australia may not fully understand the investment philosophy behind many Chinese buyers, but consulting with the new group could change that.
“I’m sure this would be beneficial for all parties,” he said.