Foreigners snaffle $160b of NSW property in ten years

Foreign investors have been given the green light to buy more than $160 billion worth of NSW real estate over the past decade.

Since the 2009 financial year, the Foreign Investment Review Board has approved over 50,000 NSW property sales to offshore buyers - the majority to companies and people in China and the US.

These accounted for a whopping $163.81 billion worth of commercial and residential property across the state.

Of this, $84.6 billion was for homes and housing development sites.

Figures for the 2018-19 financial year are yet to be disclosed. But even half the $12.8 billion spent in the prior 12 months would be enough to tip the state's total international property investment for the decade past the $170 billion mark.



Foreign investors have been given the green light to buy more than $160b of NSW real estate over the past decade.
Foreign investors have been given the green light to buy more than $160b of NSW real estate over the past decade.


NSW accounted for 23 per cent of foreign homebuyers, second only to Victoria where 46 per cent of the authorised purchases Australia-wide were made in the most recent financial year documented by the FIRB. chief economist Nerida Conisbee said the "unprecedented" demand - particularly from China - had been "a good thing, in that it led to increased (housing) supply".

"But it probably went a little bit too far," she said.

Ms Conisbee warned local developers and investors would soon need to fill the gap left by international money, in order to keep house prices and rents from spiking.

New investment rules introduced in 2015 limited international buyers to purchasing new builds.

Since then, residential investment in NSW has consistently fallen since 2016. chief economist Nerida Conisbee. chief economist Nerida Conisbee.


Sotheby's International Realty Sydney Managing Director Michael Pallier said the rule, along with increased restrictions on transferring money out of China meant international buyers were not snapping up property in Sydney as they once did.

"Over 10 years ago I had a young lady bought a house at auction, she paid over $7 million for it and she was only in her 20s from China.

"It was a time in history when China was opening up and the Chinese property market was going through the roof … and people had all this money. I don't know that we will see that time in history ever again."

He said in the last 12 months there had been boom in interest from people in Hong Kong.

"A lot of these people came here 20 years ago as students and they got their residency … and they went to Hong Kong to make money," he said.

"Now because of the uncertainty in Hong Kong they see Australia as a place to come back to so we're seeing a resurgence.

"They all want to be near the private schools - Bellevue Hill, Vaucluse, Double Bay and Rose Bay, they're the places that are very popular and obviously Mosman."

Sales involving NSW property have accounted for 21 per cent of Australia's breaches in 2016 and 20 per cent in 2017 financial year.