Originally published on The Courier Mail

Foreign investors, especially Asian buyers, are still hungry for property in Queensland, despite coronavirus restrictions delaying transactions.

Juwai-IQI, a Chinese global proptech group, shows Brisbane to be the third-most popular city in Australia for Chinese buyers, after Melbourne and top-ranking Sydney.

Prior to the coronavirus outbreak the company, which has a focus on new development properties, forecast that buyer demand from this demographic would continue to grow.

Juwai IQI executive chairman Georg Chmiel said in 2019 Chinese buyers made 8.9 per cent more inquiries about Australian property than the previous year.

“It is impossible to know what will happen with the market over the coming months. Yet this much is certain, if Chinese buyers can buy, they will. They like Australia. They like Brisbane. They want to invest here and to live here.”

Brisbane property developer Emil Juresic of NGU Corp, who is selling a $4 million-plus home at 118 Hawken Drive in St Lucia said that 80 per cent of the more than 250 people who attended the recent open home were Chinese.

St Lucia Manor, 118 Hawken Drive, St Lucia. Photo: Supplied

“Chinese buyers are being more cautious, but they haven’t dropped off,” he said.

“With the stockmarket being so volatile, this gives mums and dads a safety net to have money in real estate.”

While inquiries remain strong, the company admits the situation is not without challenges, with travel and other restrictions making transactions difficult.

“Over the past month we have had plenty of online inquiries from Chinese people, but much less of a presence than usual at open for inspections, developer sales suites and auctions,” he said.

Agents said 80 per cent of the more than 250 people who attended the recent open home for 118 Hawken Drive, St Lucia, were Chinese.

Mr Chmiel said the company was working with buyers to help to facilitate transactions in alternative ways, such as sending and signing contracts over email.

“My advice to anyone selling a home right now is to do as much online marketing as possible,” he said. “Try to reach overseas and local buyers using online tools that won’t be affected by travel bans or quarantines.”

Mr Juresic said he had not seen a drop in inquiries for property since the outbreak.

“We are still taking phone calls and doing as many private inspections,” he said.

“Buyers are still coming and people are still looking at houses; this has been our strongest month.”

Leading property experts are warning investors and homebuyers to determine quickly whether a property is likely to make it to auction in the current market.