Gold Coast must embrace Chinese push

An influx of Chinese investors to the Gold Coast is to be welcomed, says Griffith University Professor of Economics, Ross Guest.

Prime real estate on the Gold Coast is being targeted by the new wave of foreign investors, and this pursuit of bargain acquisitions represents a boost to a static economy.

Professor Guest also warned against the consequences of discouraging such investment from overseas.

“Chinese investment in real estate is on balance positive for the Gold Coast and Australia,” he said.

“It bids up real estate prices but that’s not all bad. It encourages new housing developments which boosts housing supply.”

The fact that the Chinese are buying for investment is also beneficial to the region’s economy as it increases the supply of rental property and helps keep housing rent prices down.

“First home buyers needn’t worry too much about the pressure on house prices – they’re still pretty flat on the Gold Coast and Australia-wide.”

The investment push is partly attributed to a sharp rise in the number of Chinese tourists visiting the Gold Coast each year — it is estimated at 200,000 — which has also led to plans for a Chinatown in Southport.

“We need foreign investment whether from China or anywhere else,” Professor Guest said.

“We can’t generate enough of our own saving to finance all the country’s investment projects. We need the saving of foreigners.

“If we discourage foreign investment we’ll have to accept lower wealth, either by investing less in wealth-generating projects, think mining for example, or by having a lower-valued dollar which makes everything we want to buy from overseas more expensive.”