Malaysians have overtaken Chinese investors as key players in Melbourne’s property market.
Demand has become so great one agency has set up an office just to deal with Malaysian buyers.
Local schools and business opportunities are among drawcards.
Jalin Realty founder Ian Chen, whose international agency has opened a Melbourne office to meet the growing demand, said he manages 400 properties for Malaysian investors citywide.
“Victoria has some of the best universities and naturally parents want their children to study in Melbourne, where they often have relatives and friends as well,” Mr Chen said.
“One of the reasons Glen Waverley attracts lots of Malaysians is because of Glen Waverley Secondary College, one of the best public high schools in Australia.
“Southbank is popular because it has lots of apartments and it’s not too far from the city lifestyle and universities.”
Biggin & Scott Glen Waverley agent Ming Xu said he expected more Malaysian buyers to break into the eastern pocket.
“We’ve had the median price drop about 20 per cent from the peak around here to around $1.3 million,” Mr Xu said.
“I think Asian communities would consider that good value for money. It’s also somewhere they can enjoy the Asian lifestyle with lots of restaurants, cafes and grocery stores.”
New residential projects like The Glen Shopping Centre’s 555-apartment development Sky Garden would also attract more international buyers, he said.
Agents said Balwyn, Werribee and Point Cook were other popular suburbs for Malaysian families and investors.
Figures from realestate.com.au show there are about 100 property searches daily from Malaysia into Victoria’s capital.
The figure is 25 per cent higher than the number of searches on the website out of China.
Realestate.com.au chief economist Nerida Conisbee said Malaysians showed four times more online interest for Melbourne than Sydney, which was an unusually large difference between the capitals.
Malaysians were approved for $546.5 million in real estate nationally in between June 2017-2018, the Foreign Investment Review Board’s annual report shows.
It also reports offshore buyer approvals dropped from $28 billion to $5.1 billion between 2017 and 2019, curbed by foreign investment application fees, difficulties obtaining finance in Australia, restrictions on capital transfers in home countries and stamp duty hikes.
Ms Conisbee said the changes had more than halved levels of interest from China, but Malaysian buyer inquiries only dropped by about 20 per cent.