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Agents of the Month: Lily Chong and Derek Tse, IQI Western Australia
By Juwai, 20 August 2020
IQI Western Australia is part of the Juwai IQI global real estate group. IQI WA was launched in 2019 after Trident Property Partners joined IQI Global. Trident Property Partners had been trading in Perth since 2014. IQI WA specialises in off-the-plan sale of residential properties and land packages.
Partners working with IQI WA include Far East Consortium, Norup & Wilson, EL&EL Holdings, FINI Development, Builton Group, Watson Property Group, Agem Property Group, Pathfinder Property and many more. IQI WA’s comprehensive range of services includes facilitating property acquisitions and transactions, property advice, finance application and property management.
Based in Perth, Western Australia, Lily Chong and Derek Tse are a couple running IQI WA. Lily is the director and licensee of IQI WA while Derek is the business development manager. We caught up with Lily recently to find out more about how she and Derek sell Australian properties to cross-border buyers especially those from China.
Tell us about your latest business project?
We are actively promoting EL & EL Group which is an established property developer and investor with over 40 years of experience and Far East Consortium, one of Asia’s largest property developers.
EL & EL currently has several ongoing projects in key markets, including Australia, Singapore and Malaysia. The group started out as a contractor to several large-scale government infrastructure projects in Singapore and over the years, has progressed into a wide spectrum of property developments, both locally and regionally. The group started investing in Australia in 1995, and since then has developed several housing projects and made some land acquisitions. Their current projects include land subdivision in Albany and several residential developments in Perth and in Melbourne.
Far East Consortium (FEC) is a public company listed on the Stock Exchange of Hong Kong. FEC is mainly engaged in property development and investment, hotel operation and management, car park operation as well as property management services. FEC has a residential and mixed-use project portfolio across different markets in China and Hong Kong, Australia, Malaysia and the United Kingdom. Since commencing operations in Australia in 1994, the group has contributed significantly to Australia’s skyline through numerous landmark urban renewal redevelopments such as ‘West Side Place’ in Melbourne, ‘The Star Residences’ in Gold Coast, ‘The Towers at Elizabeth Quay’ in Perth, and recently, ‘Queens Wharf’ renewal project in Brisbane.
Marketing to cross border buyers
We have been marketing Australia properties abroad since 2014 to Southeast Asian buyers, especially those from Singapore and Malaysia, as well as to China and Hong Kong. Property roadshows and educational seminars are one of our main marketing strategies because it gave us an opportunity for buyers to meet with our team, ask specific and personalised questions and gain valuable knowledge and information about investing in Australian real estate. â€¯We also work closely with local agencies.
With regards to the China market, we work with immigration agents, wealth management groups, bankers, accountants as well as local property agents. We also participated or hosted expos and private events, e.g. educational seminars. On the social media front, we are active on Facebook, MailChimp, WeChat and LinkedIn.
COVID-19, however, has opened another avenue for us to engage with buyers via online presentations and seminars. This has become much more crucial since lockdowns have prevented travel and curb face-to-face appointments.
What draws foreign buyers to Australia
There are several things that buyers look for depending on their needs. These might include:
- Properties in school zones or near to universities and the central business district. These buyers have children already studying in Australia or have recently gain permanent residency or they are planning ahead even though their children are still in primary or high school.
- Properties that deliver value and yields such as homes that come with rental guarantee or display suites from developers who can guarantee a leaseback.
- Rural land for development. Some buyers are looking for a huge block of land to either build a big house or do some small development while some are looking for farmland for their retirement.
- Luxury properties in central locations or in prestigious suburbs are highly sought after.
What are the habits of foreign buyers that you observed as real estate professionals?
In the case of Chinese buyers, they are more interested in properties located in the Eastern states, mainly Sydney and Melbourne, due to advice they received from their friends and relatives. They don’t realise Australia is not a single market and that not every state has the same price range or performance, stamp duty and government grants or incentives, and so on.
Chinese buyers also tend to pay in cash, and they like to do “group purchase” or “bulk buy”, where they will buy as a group in the same suburb or in the same project, to get better discounts.
When is the most popular time for foreigners to buy in Australia?
Unfortunately, most buyers tend to buy when the market is at its peak instead of at the bottom. When people talk about the Australian property market, they always refer to Sydney and Melbourne. In fact, Australia is not a single property market. There are five major capital cities in Australia: Melbourne in Victoria, Sydney in New South Wales, Brisbane in Queensland, Adelaide in South Australia, and Perth in Western Australia. Each city has its own property cycle.
For instance, now is the best time to invest in Perth because it is currently at the ‘’bottom” of the market cycle plus the state is offering a lot of incentives for home buyers including foreigners such as a 75 per cent stamp duty rebate and a AUD20,000 building bonus grant. Perth also offers good yields as rents have continued to rise. In the June quarter, rents rose almost one per cent. It is one of the few capital cities in Australia where rents are continuing to rise.
Obstacles when working with foreign buyers
One of the issues is mismatching the expectations of buyers because of their lack of knowledge of local market conditions.
With regards to Chinese buyers, it is not easy to build trust over the phone or through WeChat and email. Another hurdle is the transference of money out of China due to tight capital control from Beijing. Chinese buyers also tend to subscribe to herd mentality. They would prefer to listen to advice from friends rather than from professionals. So, when one buys, the rest will follow.
Advice for those who want to work with foreign buyers
When advertising listings, pick a credible and reputable platform that can provide a sound online solution. Be honest and avoid two-price strategy and try to provide one-stop services if possible. Patience is also key because it takes time to build trust and relationship. Try to engage with the customers as much as possible and understand their motivations behind their real estate investment goals.
Why pick Juwai IQI to help you with foreign buyers?
As part of the JUWAI IQI team, we are kept abreast of the company’s latest innovative solutions to win more customers such as the ‘Juwai Live Program’. Livestreaming is definitely a big help especially since COVID-10 has kept everybody at home. We think more frequent participation in livestreaming events tend to yield better results.
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