Chinese buyers

PHOTO: Chinese buyers

Rich Chinese investors are finding luxury real estate is a good hiding place from the economic fallout of the coronavirus.

Across China and in some of their familiar hunting grounds in Asia, wealthy buyers are snapping up top-end housing, in many cases to guard their wealth against anticipated inflation and a weakening yuan. The rush to add real estate has led to a jump in upmarket housing prices in China, while offering some support for Asian property markets hit hard by the pandemic.

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“It’s been flat-out,” said Monika Tu, founder of Black Diamondz, an Australian company that caters to Chinese buyers of luxury real estate.

Since March, Tu has sold 85 million Australian dollars ($55 million) of prime property, with about half the sales to Chinese clients who were in Australia when the pandemic hit. That’s a 25 percent jump from earlier in the year. The homes, priced between AU$7.25 million and AU$19.5 million, are all in Sydney’s well-heeled, ocean-front suburbs such as Point Piper.

A gradual easing of virus restrictions is making it easier for wealthy Chinese to view properties and complete purchases in nearby Asian hot spots like Shanghai, Seoul and Sydney. In another favorite Singapore, virtual tours and photos have been enough to seal multi-million dollar deals, pointing to how transactions are evolving. That’s in contrast to London and New York where real estate remains sluggish amid lockdowns.