Wednesday, December 23, 2009

Chinese eye Fiji properties

China’s rich looking to purchase properties away from home have Fiji in their sights, according to Air Pacific’s representative in Asia.

“There are a lot of queries coming right now regarding property purchases in Fiji,” said Hong Kong-based Watson Seeto when asked about the opportunities for Fiji in mainland China especially with the Fiji government forging closer ties in the Orient.

“Land prices in Hong Kong are very high. So it’s really the people coming from China, they basically are asking about investment properties or holiday homes in Fiji.”

“So once I get enough queries and put together a data base I will be going to the Fiji Trade and Investment Board or the real estate agents in Fiji to try and generate that market.”

According to Seeto, there are currently tour packages for investors going into New Zealand and Australia to buy homes, which Fiji could tap into.

“They come in small groups of 10 to 15, but they have basically a couple of million dollars to spend per person,” he said.

“The Chinese market is the market we have not fully tapped. It’s the biggest market we know is going to be available to Fiji.”

China's super-rich usually purchase homes and luxury brand items in Hong Kong, one of the main financial centers of the Far East.

According to one real estate report, property prices in Hong Kong are booming in part because of mainland cash pouring into the city.

But these days, the prices are what is taking people's breath away and a modest apartment now can go for $30 million, reports CNN.

An apartment in Hong Kong, a 6,200-square-foot duplex, recently sold for a record $57 million.

The Expat Forum reports that this year, Hong Kong returned to its status as having one of the most expensive real estate sectors in the world, both for the commercial and residential real estate.

Prices are sky high due to the fact that there is very little property on the open market, and what is there will be squeezed up to crazy prices, it said.

Some properties within the centre of the business sector are going for something in the region of $4,000 a square foot, a massive increase on 10 years ago, it said.

Seeto is optimistic that given Air Pacific’s twice weekly direct flights between Nadi and Hong Kong, Fiji is in an ideal position to take advantage of China’s economic power.

“We’re the only guys that can land you in the South Pacific,” he said.

“When we first did our study we thought it was 60 per cent from UK and Europe on the Hong Kong flight, but that’s reversed in the last three months. It’s 60 per cent tourists from China to Fiji, the UK/Europe number has dropped.”

“Our partnership with Cathay Pacific also gives us the global reach – there are many opportunities there. We have a code-share in only one sector, which is the Nadi-Hong Kong route. We are talking to Hong Kong, hoping to open opportunities in other routes.”

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