CHINESE investment into the local residential market is not likely to slow down anytime soon, as the state-owned Greenland Holdings Group has snapped up a North Sydney site for an apartment development worth more than $200 million.
The Chinese behemoth -- which last year had global revenue of $55 billion -- beat Harry Triguboff's Meriton Apartments, which also made an aggressive play for the site.
Greenland also outbid Meriton for a site with residential development at Leichhardt in Sydney's inner west that The Australian reported last week was purchased for about $47.5m.
Greenland managing director Sherwood Luo last year said the group planned to invest $1.5 billion in Australian property this year.
It is understood that the North Sydney property, which was previously an industrial site at 225-235 Pacific Highway, was sold to Greenland for about $58m. The site has approval for the construction of 190 residential apartments as well as a retail component. It was sold by industrial investment group Ford Land Company.
The agents involved, Knight Frank's Andrew Drury, Peter Krieg, Brett Burridge and Dominic Ong, declined to comment.
The move comes as a federal parliamentary inquiry into the amount of foreign investment into Australian residential real estate was launched this month to investigate whether foreign investment is directly increasing the supply of new housing and bringing benefits to the local building industry and its suppliers.
China is the largest foreign investor in Australian residential property, with buyers spending $5.4bn last financial year, according to Credit Suisse. Last year, 18 per cent of Sydney's new apartments and 12 per cent in Melbourne's were purchased by Chinese buyers, Credit Suisse said.
The head of the parliamentary inquiry, Liberal MP Kelly O'Dwyer, has been forced to deny that the inquiry is anti-Chinese.
Asian developers have been particularly active this year as they cash in on the high demand for residential property. Prices grew nationally last year by close to 10 per cent, with Sydney leading the way with 14.5 per cent growth.
Singapore developer Far East Organisation has purchased two Sydney CBD office buildings, 54 Park Street and 227 Elizabeth Street. Both have the potential to be converted to apartments.
Chinese-backed group Auswin TWT bought the headquarters of gaming company Tabcorp, in the inner city, with a plan to build 250 apartments on the site. Greenland last year purchased the former headquarters of Sydney Water. It has plans to build a $600m residential tower and hotel.
A Chinese group associated with the Visionary Investment Group has approached the owners of a block at the southern end of Sydney's CBD in the hope of acquiring a residential site.