Monika Tu certainly knows how to make a grand entrance.
As the gates of the A$25m ($18.6m) mansion in Sydney swing open, a Rolls Royce sweeps into the driveway. It glides to a stop, its heavy doors open and Tu, a Chinese-born estate agent who makes a living selling Australian property to Chinese buyers, steps out.
The opulent Georgian Regency villa, its cream facade bathed in sunshine, is flanked by tall blocks of flats in the Potts Point district of Sydney, one of the most densely-populated parts of Australia.
“This is everybody’s dream house,” she said, while ascending a wooden staircase. “Chinese buyers love a piece of history, so they come to this country [and] beside beautiful harbours and beautiful views, they want to have something of significant value.”
Born in Guizhou in southwestern China, Tu arrived in Australia in 1988 to study for an international trade degree in Melbourne. After moving to Sydney in the early 1990s, she sold cosmetics and insurance before setting up an IT firm. Her luxury property business, Black Diamondz, was founded six years ago and today, about 60% of her clients are from mainland China.
Tu recently sold a waterfront mansion in Sydney to one Chinese investor for A$40m ($29.7m). To another, she sold a A$33m ($24.5m) house in the nearby suburb of Vaulcuse with views of the Sydney Harbour Bridge and opera house.
It is estimated that last year, the Chinese snapped a quarter of all new stock in Sydney and a fifth in Melbourne.
Chinese capital investments in Australia are on the rise and are expected to be boosted further by recent changes to currency regulations that make it easier for wealthy Chinese to invest in property overseas. Credit Suisse forecasts the Chinese will pump as much as A$60bn ($44.55bn) into Australian property over the next five years.
What’s happening in Australia is part of a broader global trend, with many other countries experiencing a spike in demand for real estate from Chinese buyers, experts say.