Marketing the jewel


Property demand from ‘Investment tourists’ continues to rise. A group of leading Gold Coast property experts, planners and tourism leaders have formed a strategic alliance, ‘The Property Network Asia-Pacific’ to lead the charge to lure overseas investors.  


The huge wave of Chinese investment capital flooding the Australian property market is the talk of the nation. Latest figures suggest buyers from the land of the red dragon have injected a staggering $12 billion into the Australian real estate market in the past financial year alone. Lured by the laid-back Aussie lifestyle, good schools, clean air and our stable economy, for the overseas buyer securing an Australian property and a lifestyle to match, have never been more desirable.

But the boom in Chinese investment is only part of the tale. A lesser known story, is the growing interest from other foreign investors who are equally keen to secure a slice of the ‘lucky country’. Wealthy buyers from the Middle East, India, Cambodia and other parts of south-east Asia, are eyeing off properties in Sydney, Melbourne and Brisbane, and increasingly, their attention is turning to the Gold Coast and adjoining regions.

Selling the Australian property dream is changing the way our city leaders do business. Now, more than ever, international relationships and partnerships are the key to success – paving the way for an innovative and lucrative new era in the Gold Coast property market.


Against this backdrop, a group of leading Gold Coast property experts, planners and tourism leaders have formed a strategic alliance under the banner ‘The Property Network Asia-Pacific’. Utilising networking nous, trade missions and a wealth of marketing experience, the group will spearhead efforts to sell local properties to potential foreign buyers, marketing the Gold Coast, Tweed Heads and NSW North Coast region as both a lifestyle and investment destination. 

The Property Network Asia-Pacific CEO, Michael Reading, says that for overseas buyers, the Gold Coast represents both lifestyle and affordability.

“It’s rare to be able to buy a modern architect-designed home that’s priced at under $500,000, or find units with a median price of $320,000. On the Gold Coast, you can still get that and be close to the beach and major shopping centres and other amenities as well,” Michael says.

Michael and other delegates from the property network have already undertaken several trade missions to India, China and Singapore, with further trips in the pipeline.


He says although agents on the ground in China are assisting with direct selling of property to Chinese buyers, the focus is on building relationships rather than an aggressive marketing push.
“Relationships are central to the Asian way of doing business and it takes time and diplomacy to establish these connections,” Michael says. “Fortunately, the support of distinguished builders in the south-east corner has helped us build credibility in what is traditionally a tough market.  

“Our mantra when dealing with our targeted audiences is: firstly, promote the Gold Coast destination and greater region, secondly, build the relationship, and thirdly, market the opportunity to own a property, whether it be a golf course mansion, luxury townhouse or architect-designed house and land package.”

Manish Karkhanis, an international trade and business development consultant and a member of the property network, has led trade missions across India to Mumbai, Delhi and, Hyderabad, cities with a rising demographic of wealthy families who see Australia as a dream destination. 


“There is a growing mainstream population, as well as high net-worth individuals in India, who have generated significant income from family-owned businesses,” Manish explains. “For these people, buying Australian property represents excellent value-for-money. Also, compared to India, it’s much easier to buy property in Australia and construction is twice as fast.

“They also see Australia as an ideal place to invest in terms of lifestyle. Not only do their children benefit from experiencing an exciting and healthy way of life, they can also gain an education in a developed country.” 

International tourism industry veteran Peter Doggett, CEO of Connecting Southern Gold Coast says it’s great to see the property network leading a new wave of ‘investment tourism’.

“From a tourism perspective, traditionally inbound Chinese visitors concentrated on Sydney, Brisbane and Melbourne, because that is where their international flights landed and they expected to see the Sydney Opera House and the harbour bridge; those iconic attractions,” Peter says. “They still want to see those places because they have friends and family networks, but when it comes to investing in property, overseas buyers are really waking up to the potential of regional Australia because of our enviable lifestyle.

“In a city like the Gold Coast, we have a trio of top-rated universities, clean air, a stunning natural environment and of course, good schools, transport infrastructure and hospitals.

“But the challenge is to make our brand more identifiable to overseas buyers who still think of Australia as Sydney, Melbourne and Ayers Rock,” Peter adds.

“Initially, the group has put in a lot of ground work to let potential investors know that the Gold Coast is a diverse place of iconic beaches and hinterland, but also, a city by the sea that represents dynamic business opportunities as well.”


Michael Reading says that once contracts on properties are exchanged, purchasers will be invited to visit the Gold Coast and familiarise themselves with the many positives associated with their property investment.

“Ultimately, we envisage being able to give buyers a short stay experience that gives them a taste of the whole region: a CityCat ride on the Brisbane River, for example, a drive into the Currumbin Valley and a day trip to appreciate the natural beauty of Byron Bay and Lennox Head,” Michael says.

With the Gold Coast Commonwealth Games just two years away and a growing sense of entrepreneurial energy permeating the city, the group agrees the time is ripe to capitalise on the foreign investment boom.

“There are huge benefits for the Gold Coast economically if we encourage these potential investors to our region,” Michael says. “Of course, we want to preserve the amenity of the Gold Coast and we’re not advocating over-development, but the overseas investment phenomenon is happening and it’s potentially huge for our region.

“This is the next wave of property investment on the Gold Coast and we’ve really only just scratched the surface in terms of what this could mean for our city.”