Beautiful and Giant Western Australia
Australia’s biggest state is so large and all-encompassing that it resists description, but if two words had to be chosen, then “raw beauty” is probably applicable to 99% of its 2.5 million square kilometers of land – an area 60% larger than the Xinjiang autonomous region of China. An exciting selection of oceanfront properties, penthouses and luxury condos can be found in the Perth metropolitan area, while further afield lie gorgeous vineyard estates, equestrian homes, ranches, farm properties and more.
The World UNESCO World Heritage Sites of Sharks Bay, Ningaloo Coast, Purnululu National Park and the former Fremantle Prison all lie in Western Australia (WA), a state with a stunning diversity of landscapes, flora and fauna and three distinct climatic zones.
The immense size of WA and its countless natural attractions suggest vast potential for development. The state is already enjoying a boom in mining, its biggest industry and recipient of significant investment from China. Tourism, services, agriculture and education industries are all expected to expand in coming decades, and the population of Perth, the capital city where 80% of WA residents live, is forecast to double.
Outdoor and Urban Attractions
One can visit the Margaret River area in the south of the state to enjoy international award winning wines produced by local vineyards, superb restaurants and great surfing. In the north there is swimming with whale sharks along the Ningaloo coast and camel rides on the beaches of Broome.
The Perth area alone has about 20 yacht clubs, and 15 more can be found elsewhere along the WA coast. Options for golf likewise abound and WA also has several airfields and schools for recreational aviation.
Greater Perth is home to vibrant arts and music scenes, with the 60-year-old Perth International Arts Festival highlighting a yearly calendar filled with cultural events . A plethora of great restaurants, art galleries, and cafes and pubs of unique character provide further reasons to love this city, which owes much of its energetic and youthful spirit to the presence of four universities, the prestigious University of Western Australia among them.
Historical and Economic Ties
The first sizable group of Chinese people to settle in WA were actually Singaporeans who arrived in Perth in 1847. A second group settled in the northern coastal city of Broome in the 1860s to work in the area’s nascent pearling industry.
Today about 140,000 people of Chinese descent live in WA according to the Chung Wah Association, the state’s oldest and largest Chinese organization. National census data reveals that Perth had 72,253 residents of Chinese ancestry in 2011. Of these, some 20,204 were born in either China or Hong Kong, and 22,748 claimed to speak Chinese at home.
According to a KPMG report, Chinese enterprises made investments totaling AUD$1,162,700,000 in Western Australia in 2014. The largest transaction was an AUD$971 million investment in a mining operation by Baosteel in partnership with Australia’s Aurizon Holdings.
Bright Long-Term Prospects
Home prices in Perth climbed a total of 20% over 2012 – 2013 and then stayed mostly flat for a year before starting to drop in the 2nd quarter of 2015. As of June 2015 the median price for a Perth house stood at AUD$539,000, and experts predict the values will continue declining slowly, possibly for as long as 3 years. This prediction is based on a slowdown in the mining sector, the chief economic engine of the area.
Despite this downward trend, the city, as well as other areas of WA, are still seeing strong demand from overseas buyers, who applied to purchase AUD$1.32 billion worth of WA residential property in 2014. Perth properties are still relatively inexpensive compared to properties in many foreign cities, and the long-term outlook for investors remains bright.
Short-term opportunities for solid returns in Perth still exist in areas of the city that will benefit from new infrastructure projects. The ongoing AUD$1 billion “Gateway” project that is upgrading roads, bridges and other facilities is one example. Property prices in Forest field, one of the areas that will benefit from Gateway, rose 15% last year, far higher than the city average.