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The $100 million woman Monika Tu and the Chinese appetite for Australian real estate

Posted by Ram Kumar Shrestha on November 28, 2014


Monika TuMonika Tu calls herself a “property concierge” and says she can’t get enough Australian real estate for her cashed-up Chinese clients.

“Business is going extremely well and Australia becomes more and more popular for the Chinese,” she told 7.30.

Last year the head of Sydney-based company Black Diamondz set herself an ambitious sales target.

“My target was $100 million I remember, and I have reached now about $120 million,” Ms Tu said.

Her clients are wealthy Chinese businesspeople interested in high-end properties.

As she shows a potential client through a lavish $13 million home on Sydney’s lower north shore, she explains her business:

“I am dealing with high net worth foreign buyers and we specialise in luxury properties. Almost 100 per cent are established properties.”

Under Australian rules, all foreigners can buy new property but there are restrictions on the sale of established properties.

Real estate agent Robert Simeon believes some investors are using loopholes to get around the rules, especially those for temporary residents who are supposed to sell their properties within three months of leaving Australia.

“Overseas students … are allowed to buy property while they study and they have to sell it once they’ve graduated. Well, there is no evidence that any property has ever been sold,” Mr Simeon told 7.30.

“The Foreign Investment Review Board (FIRB) is hopeless and the fact is the Australian Government has been caught asleep at the wheel.”

A parliamentary review of foreign investment tabled on Thursday makes a series of recommendations, including fines for those who buy property illegally and changes to the Migration Act so the FIRB must be informed when a temporary resident leaves Australia on expiry of their visa.

Ms Tu does not believe efforts to tighten up the enforcing of the rules will affect her clients.

“There are a lot of rules, and first of all they have to have a visa, they have to be a resident here and they will be able to buy,” she said.

“The majority have a significant investor visa … I think you have to invest a certain amount of money like, probably, $5 million into a business or management funds, and that is how they qualify for the visa.”

With Chinese interest in Australian real estate booming, Ms Tu is expanding her business.

“My team has increased. Previously we had four or five people, now we have 15 and our market share has increased,” she said.

This year she expects to double her previous sales goal to $200 million.

@ABC

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