Australians seem divided about whether foreign investment is a threat to the housing market or an opportunity.
The Inquiry into Foreign Investment in Residential Real Estate has received submissions from ordinary Australians that voice concerns about housing bubbles, 'dirty money' and rule-breaking.
One submission said foreign investment is creating “unprecedented price pressure on residential property” which has “priced out the average Australian home buyer”.
Another submission warned of foreign investors who are using wealth acquired by “suspicious practices” to outbid “hardworking Australian taxpaying citizens”.
The inquiry was also warned about investors who are “surreptitiously getting around existing rules” to snap up the best homes in the country.
However, some Australians offered support for the existing regulations.
Urban Taskforce Australia said the current rules help stimulate development because they steer almost all investors towards buying new homes.
Meriton Group said foreign investment is helping to support Australia’s economy and housing market – and that it would be better to liberalise the rules rather than tighten them.
Another submission refuted claims that Chinese investors have been pushing up prices and said that research showed they actually pay less than other buyers for homes of a similar quality.
The aim of the inquiry is to find ways to increase the supply of new housing in Australia. It will announce its findings on October 10.
The Adviser will explore the growing Chinese market in greater detail in its June issue, out soon.