A Chinese family has bought a large, AU$1.4 million (US$1.3 million) single-family house, so they can tear it down and build something bigger. Afterwards, their 23-year-old son will live there while working on his university degree.  

Westerners are often surprised by the number of Chinese buyers who purchase large, family-sized homes for their children to use as student housing while studying locally. 

We have seen examples in the US, UK, Australia, France...the list goes on and on.

The latest example to make it into the media is a AU$1.4 million single-family house in the Sunnybank, Queensland. It was reported today in the Courier-Mail, West Australian and Daily Telegraph (12 September 2013).

In this case, the buyers will demolish the house to make way for larger new construction. They intend it for their 23-year-old son, Kai Shen, to live their while studying in Australia.

One Australian expert says that 50% of Asian buyers intend their teen students to live in them. But that's not the whole story.

The properties also serve as an investment, the way you might park money in safe stock or mutual fund for the long term. And, there is always the possibility that the parents themselves may live in the property, perhaps retiring their one day, at the end of their professional careers.

According to the Foreign Investment Review Board, foreigners may only acquire established dwellings for the purpose of redevelopment.

Juwai.com featured prominently in this story. We noted that Australian law --unlike law in the US or UK-- doesn't allow international buyers to purchase existing homes, unless they intend to replace them with new construction.

We also noted that China is the largest source of international students in Australia. Chinese students make up 1 out of every 5 international enrollments.