In the past decade, the dynamic 

Chinese economy has produced a 

plethora of multimillionaires from 

across the economic landscape. Now 

many of them have been attracted 

to investing their new–found wealth 

in Australian real estate, with some 

Darwin agencies travelling regularly 

to Asia, actively selling Darwin 

properties to Chinese investors. 

Raine and Horne has set up offices 

in Singapore and Hong Kong while 

Gwelo Developments has made 

numerous visits to the mainland 

mega–centres of Shanghai, Beijing 

and Shenzhen, quietly developing 

the market over the past two years. 

They see China as a wellspring of 

investment potential.

Aiding the Darwin effort 
are restrictive Chinese 
Government regulations 
governing property 
speculation, coupled with 
strict enforcement of capital 
gains tax on home sale 
profits and the imposition 
of higher deposits for the 
purchase of second homes. 
As a result Chinese investors 
are looking abroad to 
what they see as the safe 
economies of Australia 
and Canada. In Australia 
they are welcomed by the 
government’s Significant 

Investor Visa, accelerating their migrant 
status should they spend $5 million on 
approved investments in Australia.  
“The Chinese are not interested in  
the properties,” explains Real Estate 
Investors Network and Gwelo spokesman 
Jim Downs. “They’re more interested in 

where it is, 
what’s the 
return, can 
my kids go 
to university 
there, and 
will I be able 
to sell it in 
ten years  
at a profit?”  

Gwelo puts 
together a 
package that 
gives them 
exactly what 
they want, 

selling investment units in the Darwin CBD 
in apartment buildings it has developed: 
Soho, Pandanas penthouses, Mantra and 
others in the planning stage. “They buy 
them sight unseen,” says Downs. “They put 
down 10 per cent deposit and borrow the 
rest from their banks in China (currently at 
2.6 per cent interest rate). We rent them  
out over here for them and they just run 
them as investments. They’ll buy between 
20 and 50 in the first release [in August] 
and a minimum of 100 a year thereafter.”
Downs, who runs seminars in Darwin for 
Australian investors, believes that when 
you’re an investor you have to look at it 
from a purely mathematical perspective—
it’s got nothing to do with the property. 
It’s got everything to do with your tenant. 
Gwelo builds one or two bedroom units to 
a precise price range, especially fitted–out 
for young, professional people between 25 
and 35 years old. They prefer to build in the 
CBD because their tenant has no children or 
pets. They don’t damage the properties and 
they have the money to pay the rent. The 
investor never has to see the property, with 
the agent managing the property for them. 
Another Darwin investment attraction 
is the emergence of Charles Darwin 
University developing courses in hospitality 
as well as complete six year courses in Law 
and Medicine. Chinese investors can buy 
a property in Darwin and their kids can 
attend CDU and have somewhere to live. 
“CDU is a major drawcard for overseas 
investors,” says Downs. “If your son or 
daughter was coming to Australia to 
study, wouldn’t it be great if you could 
buy them an investment unit in a growth 
market. That’s the thinking behind a lot of 
Chinese investment.”






> Jim Downs, REIN 

and Gwelo spokesman.