Pete Wargent blogspot

CEO AllenWargent Property Buyers, & WargentAdvisory (institutional). 6 x finance author.

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Saturday, 12 July 2014

40% of Sydneysiders speak a non-English language at home

A very interesting article in the Sydney Morning Herald today which puts a different spin on the concept of "foreign buyers" of property in Sydney.

The percentage of Sydneysiders who speak a community language at home has increased rapidly from 27pc of residents in 1996, to a much higher 38pc in 2011.

In 21 suburbs, English is not the most common language, with only 12pc of residents in Cabramatta nominating English as their first language. Notes the article:

"Nearly 40 per cent of Sydneysiders speak a non-English language at home. More than 250 languages are spoken in Sydney.
Arabic, which dominates the western suburbs, is the most widely spoken non-English language. Mandarin and Cantonese, found predominately in the north shore, are the next most common languages."

The Foreign Investment Review Board itself bemoaned in a pointed manner the repeated complaints it had received about so-termed "Asian buyers":

"The Foreign Investment Review Board chairman, Brian Wilson, told the House of Representatives economics committee: 

“I think it’s fair to say almost all the public commentary around residential real estate buying by foreigners has an Asian component to it.

“Very often, where we might get a call that says ‘a Chinese has bought this house and my daughter wasn’t able to do so’ and it’s investigated we find yes, they’re of Chinese background but they’re a citizen – they live here,” Wilson said."
We've encountered similar issues ourselves as property buyers.

On occasions people have noted a preponderance of interest from "Asians" in certain properties, which overlooks the fact that in many of Sydney's suburbs, the overwhelming majority of residents are actually of Asian heritage anyway.