The correlation between Chinese student enrolments in Australia and housing sales to foreign investors, in one chart

A record 232,000 Chinese citizens studied in Australia in 2017, accounting for 28.9% of all international student enrolments.

Chinese student numbers have risen 54% from four years earlier.

With growth of that magnitude, it requires a lot of new housing, be it to rent or buy while studying.

If the chart below from Macquarie Bank is anything to go by, it looks like more than a few Chinese may be taking the latter opinion.

Macquarie Bank

It shows annual growth in Chinese student numbers overlaid against the percentage of new and existing residential dwellings sold to foreign buyers.

While not a perfect relationship by any stretch, there does seem to be a reasonable relationship between the two, particularly for new dwellings.

“Correlation or causation? A lot of the latter in our opinion,” says Justin Fabo, Economist at Macquarie.

In the year to March, approvals to build private sector residential dwellings other than houses, largely reflecting units, rose by 21.4% to 9,090.

Approvals to build apartments in high-rise towers — the largest component in this category — are also starting to move back towards the record highs struck in 2015.

Clearly faster population growth, including student enrollments, along with other factors such as affordability and convenience, are helping to underpin demand.

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