Chinese Investment A Boon for Australian Law Firms

The Brisbane and Gold Coast property markets are swamped with Chinese investment capital prompting Australian legal practices to expand their services into other legal areas.

There is no denying Australian law firms have been caught in a storm of market change to meet the different client expectations of today. The massive shift away from BigLaw has seen the rise of flexible work contracts, more affordable & transparent pricing and the addition of extra services to legal arsenals. While change can often be difficult and fraught with road-bumps, this evolution of law does mean our legal eagles are well-versed in adapting to, dealing with and prospering from, changed circumstance.

So What’s Happening?

Growing inbound property investment from China has seen a massive spike in Melbourne and Sydney property prices and now its Brisbane’s turn. Mainland China is eyeing off the city with development projects of unparalleled scale in the pipeline resulting in heated bidding wars between Australian goliaths including Metro Property Development, Mirvac & Meriton.

“We've seen a massive up swell of inbound investment in south-east Queensland from mainly Chinese investors and development companies in the last six months in particular”, confirms Andrew Johnson, head of Mills Oakley’s Brisbane property team. “Looking around Brisbane there are more cranes on the horizon … than there have ever been before”.

According to Juwai, Chinese purchasing intent has jumped by 17% over Q2, 2015.

“The Melbourne market was the first to be hit, then the Sydney market and Brisbane is always a bit slower and lags behind [but] we're certainly in the middle of the wave now. I can't see this slowing down up here for the next 18 months,” said Mr Johnson.

What Does This Mean?

1. All this inbound Chinese investment means more work for law firms and an expansion of services to handle this increased workload.

2. Unlike Chinese investment in Sydney and Melbourne which is primarily for investment purposes only, those Chinese investing in the Brisbane & Gold Coast real estate markets are more and more interested in living in their purchased homes. The new Chinese Free Trade Agreement is playing a part in upping the appeal of living in Australia.

“There are a large number of middle-band, high-net-worth Chinese … wanting to move close to the sun, the great outdoors. It's a nicer place to live up here sometimes [compared with] Melbourne and Sydney … and I suppose we are a closer destination to China”, says Mr Johnson.

Show Me The Money!

The competitive market means Chinese investors need to fork out a lot more money than what the Australian market would pay. For example, Forise Holdings purchased the Gold Coast’s former Iluka Tower and will be developing a $1 billion resort on the site housing 693 luxury apartments.

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