China property hot spot
Tourism operators aren't the only people preparing to snap up business from China's direct flights to Cairns.
Our local real estate agents are also looking to capitalise on the growing China market.
Principal of RE/MAX Real Estate Cairns, Tony Williamson, is making the most of his company's contacts in China to attract Chinese investors.
“RE/MAX is in China now, we're in Shanghai and Beijing to build relationships and to take advantage and learn about the cultural differences about Chinese as opposed to Australians,” he said.
Mr Williamson said Chinese nationals were only allowed to purchase one investment property in China so middle-class residents were looking for overseas investments.
“It's a massive opportunity for Cairns.
“We had three Chinese nationals (buy) in August and one in October all over the Cairns region.''
He said blocks of land and commercial businesses were popular investments for Chinese.
“The direct flights (from Shanghai) have put Cairns on the map.
“We are actively looking to recruit a Mandarin-speaking agent now that's our massive growth for us.”
But communication hasn't been too difficult, Mr Williamson said, with potential buyers usually enlisting in a third-party adviser to deal with agents.
“We've got a website where all our listings in Cairns are translated into Mandarin (global.remax. com).
“I think we're on the front foot with the way we present the properties. RE/MAX is expanding right throughout Asia so we are making sure we are fully versed.”
LJ Hooker Cairns Edge Hill Ross Moller said he had not seen an increase in Chinese investors and said only Australian citizens or permanent residents were able to buy established homes in Cairns.
He said Chinese investors looked towards commercial properties including apartments and hotels.
Managing director for Cairns Commercial Real Estate CBRE, Danny Betros, said interest from Chinese investors tended to be a long-term commitment.
“From a commercial point of view we are handling a stream of investors including the Chinese,” he said.
“A lot of them are just dipping their toe in the water. They are only learning about Cairns (so) it's very early days.”
Mr Betros said agricultural land and tourism ventures appealed to the Chinese market.
“They don't often buy commercial or shopping centres. They are much more astute than what we are used to in the foreign investment market.”
He said it was more important for CBRE to build relationships with potential investors over the long-term.
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Asian association: Cairns agents are looking to China's property potential. Picture: THINKSTOCK