SYDNEY May 9 Australia approved foreign
investments worth almost a third more in fiscal 2016 than the
previous year, as more Chinese buyers piled into the already
red-hot residential property market, government data published
on Tuesday showed.
The figures in the Foreign Investment Review Board's 2016
annual report highlight the huge Chinese appetite for Australian
property even as economists expect the housing market to ease in
2017 amid rising lending rates.
"For the third year in a row, China was the largest source
of approved investment, driven by continuing approvals in the
real estate sector," the report said, adding that the United
States was the second biggest source of approved investment.
The total value of foreign investment approvals in Australia
reached A$247.9 billion ($182 billion) in the year to June 30,
2016, up 29 percent on the previous year and nearly double the
A$135.7 billion total of the prior three years.
A total of A$47.3 billion Chinese investments were approved
that year, a fifth of the overall total foreign investment. Of
those approved Chinese investments, $31.9 billion was into real
The report didn't say what proportion of foreign investment
in new dwellings came from China. Approvals for all foreign
investment in new homes totalled A$57.6 billion, up a third on
the prior year.
The report said the rise in foreign investment approvals for
new homes "is in line with the policy to encourage residential
real estate investment that increases housing supply", a
reference to new rules making it harder for foreigners to buy
existing Australian homes.
($1 = 1.3620 Australian dollars)
(Reporting by Byron Kaye; Editing by Miral Fahmy)