Triguboff sharing the love with Chinese buyers

Triguboff sharing the love with Chinese buyers

12 May 2017

Harry Triguboff, founder of Meriton Group, says Chinese property investors are struggling to get money into Australia, so he’s giving them a helping hand.

Mr Triguboff — which according to news.com.au is the country’s third-richest person with an estimated net worth of $10.1 billion — explained to The Australian Financial Review why he is financing about $200 million of the $1.4 billion worth of apartment sales he expects to make this year — Chinese buyers are struggling with tougher currency controls to get money into Australia.

“Two years ago I didn’t lend anything,” said Mr Triguboff. “Now, [I’m lending] maybe $200 million. It might go up to $400 [million]. But then they will start paying back. This is the worst time. What’s happening is I don’t have old customers, so nobody’s paying me back. So I’m building it up. In another year, they’ll start paying me back.”

It’s being seen as a savvy move, and a service which Meriton can well afford to extend to its customers. It follows

While Australian banks are increasingly shy of lending to foreign buyers, that’s only part of the problem. The Chinese government has also made moves to restrict buyers from taking money out of the country, Triguboff said.

“The Chinese government is making it hard for them. That is the biggest problem.”

Chinese customers regarded Australian property investment as a way of securing wealth outside of China, and had never previously encountered problems with sending money out, he said.

“What happened before is that the Chinese buyer knew he could get money out of China,” Mr Triguboff said.

“So he never borrowed here. And then it became harder over there. So he said ‘I will borrow here’. And we decided ‘We can’t give it [credit] to him because he jacks up the prices’. So he’s caught. I hope that we will lend money to them because they are very good borrowers. You show me a man that buys a unit – you don’t talk about a man that buys for $400 million – I mean a man who buys for half a million. He will pay, no question. So the banks should be allowed to lend to them.

Mr Triguboff earlier told The Australian that this would be another strong year for Sydney’s apartment market, despite threats of oversupply and the likelihood of further intervention from regulators aiming to slow investor interest.