Australians use WeChat app to sell property to Chinese

By @vitthernandez on
WeChat App
A picture illustration shows a WeChat app icon in Beijing, December 5, 2013. Reuters/Petar Kujundzic

Tighter rules may have caused Chinese buyers to abandon their contracts to buy units in Sydney and Melbourne in Australia, but Australian property agents are using an app to convince them to buy. The app, WeChat, has 762 million monthly active users in China as of first quarter of 2016.

Majority of them live in China where the app came from, owned by Tencent, a Chinese technology giant. But about 70 million of WeChat users live outside the mainland who are targeted by Aussie property agents and not covered by Beijing rules on remittance of dollars. One agent posted on WeChat a $4.6 million property in Vaucluse, an eastern suburb of Sydney, reported The Australian.

The property was quickly sold, according to Monika Tu, founder and director of Black Diamondz Property. The potential buyer saw on Saturday the posting on the property on 23 Hopetoun Avenue, inspected it on Sunday and a contract was made on Tuesday, according to Tu.

Tu initially posted the high-end properties she was selling on her personal WeChat account and shared the property listing information with her friends. When she realised it was a very effective platform, Tu created an official Black Diamondz account which now has more than 35,000 followers.

Simon Platt, general manager of Kinsale Property Group, has 2,500 followers on WeChat since he launched a campaign in June for the marketing of the $300-million New Life Ultimo Projects for TWT, a company associated with Kinsale.

Even CBRE residential opened in late 2015 an official WeChat account where it posts editorial articles when the company releases an apartment project and computer-generated images, says Ben Stewart, CBRE director of residential projects.

Tu estimates for every WeChat post made, property sellers expect to generate over 5,000 viewers on top of results from local advertising.

Meanwhile, Perthnow reports that more Chinese buyers are becoming attracted to properties in Perth because of affordability and lifestyle. According to realestate.com.au, in the first six months of 2016, searches for properties in Perth reached 3,450, an 11.6 percent increase, up from 3,090 compared to the same period in 2015.

Nerida Conisbee, chief economist of the REA Group, with Chinese buyers becoming more educated about Australian markets, they are looking beyond Sydney and Melbourne, considering Perth which is different from most Chinese cities in Australia in terms of jobs, fresh air, weather and schools.

VIDEO: Perth Housing Market Update – released July 2016

Source: CoreLogic RP Data