Asia holds the key to Australia’s success

By Greg Bell

Property in Surfers Paradise has long been an attractive prospect for overseas investors and domestic buyers alike. Declining vacancy rates and construction will likely boost investor demand in the short-term, but there are still plentiful opportunities for the commercial property market to bloom.

Following the signing of new Free Trade Agreements and the establishment of the ASEAN Economic Community, a new study shows that by 2050 the face of the global economy is set to change dramatically, with power shifting away from the traditional stalwarts and towards the burgeoning economies in the east. Australia's involvement with this economic powerhouse will continue to grow – a fact that will have fantastic benefits for property investment in southeast Queensland.

Asia as a world leader

'World in 2050', a PwC report that projects where the economic tide is shifting, predicts China and India as world economic leaders by 2015, followed by the United States in third and Indonesia in fourth.

According to the report, Australia will not even feature in the top 20. By 2030 alone four of the world's top five economies will be in Asia – only the United States will interrupt a straight flush and Australia is expected to slip back to 28th place. The report shows that China has already surpassed the US for purchasing power parity to become the largest economy, while other emerging economies like India and Indonesia are expected to expand at around 1.5-2.5 per cent per year. 

"It is now clear that the global economic power shift away from the established advanced economies in North America, Western Europe and Japan will continue over the next 35 years," Mr Parker said.

"The rise of Indonesia through the world rankings throughout the period to 2050 is very striking, rising from 9th in 2014 to 4th in 2050."

Opportunities are rife in coming decades. Already, Australia is one of the most sought-after property investment markets among Asian investors. HSBC research shows that more than one-third of affluent Asians own an investment property overseas and many of them are looking for further options.  

Alice Del Vecchio, Head of Mortgages for HSBC in Australia, said that Asian interest in Australia predicted to endure, something that will do wonders for the housing industry. 

"Looking ahead, interest in Australia is expected to remain strong so our economy is set to be a key beneficiary as foreign investment activity can help increase the supply of new housing by stimulating construction," she said.

Tapping into the market

HSBC research revealed that Australia was the top choice for offshore property investment among cashed-up Indonesians. Malaysians and Singaporeans also ranked Australia highly in 2014, while smaller proportions of Chinese, those from Hong Kong and India also invested in Australian property. The survey also revealed that of these nationalities, 25 per cent intended to purchase in Queensland.

Australia's proximity to Asia, its lifestyle and high quality education options are all major drivers behind consistent demand for investment property. The Gold Coast's blossoming tourism sector also provides golden opportunities for healthy rental returns and capital growth, particularly in office space.

"Australia's appeal also extends to its community links with Asian countries. Close to 70 per cent of Australia's international students are from Asia, many of which stay in Australia long term to work or reside. We know from our own customer base that a large proportion of international mortgages in the past year have been located near universities," Ms De Vecchio said. 

"Access to universities, holiday homes in Queensland and the large public service sector in Canberra may also be a drawcard for affluent Asian investors."

As Asia's economic future continues to gain momentum, it's likely that Gold Coast's commercial property market will move from strength to strength. 

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