A third-party veteran believes new and growing broker businesses must employ Chinese-speaking staff to capitalise on foreign buyer demand.
Assured Financial Services managing director Renato Cenedese told The Adviser that in over 20 years in the finance industry and three property cycles he has never experienced the ‘unknown quantity’ of the current demand from overseas investors.
“In this particular cycle, what we can’t compare with as per the previous cycles is the Chinese factor,” Mr Cenedese said. “That is an unknown quantity – a totally unknown quantity.
“If any brokerages do start up, you’ve got to have a Chinese-speaking person in there. Especially in Melbourne.”
Mr Cenedese said overseas buyers are “a totally new dynamic” that the mortgage broking industry will need to adapt to.
“If the new broker hasn’t got some sort of strategic alliance with an Asian-speaking person, then they’re going to find it difficult because of the huge amount of demand coming from foreign buyers,” he said. “All the new stuff that is sold in Melbourne is to overseas buyers.
“It’s insane. I’ve never experienced anything like it.
“Friends of mine that have also been in the business a long time now have Chinese staff and are doing very well.
“It’s a massive market to get into. It’s just understanding how to do it.”
According to global risk consulting firm Kroll’s Spotlight Asia series, Australian real estate attracted $12.5 billion worth of Chinese investment in 2014 FIRB approvals.
Valuation firm Propell recently said Chinese investors had the most impact in a small cluster of prime inner-city suburbs in Sydney and Melbourne where houses sell for more than $3 million.
Rob Love, St. George Bank head of credit, revealed last month that the group is keeping a close eye on certain Sydney postcodes to track investment trends, including the influence of foreign buyer activity.
“If there are more SMSF properties being purchased in particular areas, or if non-resident lending is driving unit sales, for example,” he said.
“That’s what we’re doing at the moment – spending a lot of time looking at [a] postcode analysis to explain what the real hotspots in our portfolio are.”