The former house of legendary Hong Kong writer Louis Cha has been listed for sale in Melbourne. Image: Kay & Burton.
  • Louis Cha Leung-Yung, is also known by his pen name Jin Yong
  • Cha is highly regarded, sometimes referred to as 'China's Tolkein'
  • The property has gained significant interest from Asian buyers

The former home of late author Louis Cha has gone up for sale, listed by Kay & Burton Director Andrew Sahhar and Partner Jamie Mi.

With a body of work that has sold over 100 million copies globally, the deceased Hong Kong author has drawn comparisons with literary titans like Tolkien, Rowling, and Martin. He also co-founded Ming Pao in 1959, a Hong Kong newspaper, serving as its first editor-in-chief.

Located at 61 Clendon Road in Toorak, the home is a stunning and spacious Spanish Mission residence featuring a 4,715 square metre interior including six bedrooms, six baths and parking for six cars.

Jamie Mi, Partner and Head of the International Division at Kay & Burton, says, “This residence has only just launched on the market, and we already have a significant amount of interest, including from Asian buyers.”

“There is rising confidence in Melbourne despite the higher interest rates. And this home has an exclusive location close to some of Melbourne’s finest schools, shopping and transport. It is a generational home for discerning buyers of landmark properties.”

The property is also being sold in conjunction with Marcus Chiminello of Marshall White.

In other news, mainland Chinese property buyers have returned in droves to the Australian market.

Peter Li, general manager of Sydney and Shanghai-based real estate agency Plus Agency, remarks that there are thrice as many mainland Chinese property buyers in Sydney as there were in the past year.

Chinese investment in Australia has risen by 30% this year compared to 2022.

Burgeoning interest in Sydney properties from Chinese buyers

“In the most popular areas like Chatswood, there are about five buyers for everyone we would have had a year ago,” Li said.

Though the agency only launched two years ago, in 2021, it has catapulted in growth since, boasting more than half a billion in exclusive listings and about $180 million in sales.

“When we launched, the challenge was to get vendors to trust us with their projects, since we didn’t have a track record. Now, all our projects come to us by referral.”

peter li plus agency
Peter Li. Image: Supplied.

Experts speaking to The Sydney Morning Herald have opined that this swell in interest from China was sparked by large piles of savings Chinese citizens found themselves with post-pandemic. Now that the COVID restrictions now lifted, cash-rich Chinese buyers are rushing to invest in Australian property, having lost confidence in their domestic market.

However, the increased investor activity has been strongly felt by Sydney, with property prices shooting up as developers struggle to meet demand during the ongoing housing crisis.

Melbourne faces apartment shortage

Winston Lo, Head of IQI Victoria, reports that Melbourne is experiencing a shortfall of affordable one and two-bedroom apartment units.

Lo states that while it is good that overseas buyers have been snapping up all the small apartments in buildings with poor sales, the shortfall in cheap apartments will have dire consequences in the long run.

“It’s getting very hard to find someone a one-bedroom in that lower price point of $400,000 to $500,000.”

“Nor does it look like more stock is coming any time soon. Planning approvals are down, and developers have put many planned projects on hold. There isn’t much new stock coming onto the market.”

Winston Lo, IQI Victoria

“Only about 12,000 apartments were started in the December quarter in Australia, and the number has never been that low before. That number of apartment starts is 14% lower than the lowest stat on record and has been on a downward trend since 2018.”

Lo predicts that the housing shortage will shift demand to an already overheated rental market, which will drive prices further upwards.

Calls from Western Australia for NRAS to be extended

On a related note, real estate agents in Perth have urged the Australian government to continue the National Rental Affordability Scheme (NRAS) past its mid-2026 expiry date.

“There is a severe shortage of affordable rentals. The National Rental Affordability Scheme is aimed at making homes available to low to moderate-income individuals and families, including essential workers, seniors, and single parents,” says Lily Chong, Director of IQI, Western Australia.

“The NRAS works by incentivising investors to offer rentals at rates 20% to 30% below the market average.”

Should the NRAS be canned, tens of thousands of affordable rentals would leave the market, unhousing many who will have to seek accommodation in a market where rent prices are growing at an unprecedented rate.

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