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Australia's richest man: 'The Chinese are already disappearing'

Jonathan Chancellor
Property Observer
Australia's richest man: 'The Chinese are already disappearing'

Australia's richest man, Meriton boss Harry Triguboff, has slammed the NSW government for its plans to impose higher taxes on foreign buyers of residential property.

"It is very bad. Without the Chinese nothing would ever get built," Mr Triguboff told The Australian Financial Review.

"Never mind the bullsh-- stories, sales volumes have already dropped and prices are coming down steadily.

"The Chinese buyers are already disappearing.

"This is not a joke. Chinese real estate agents are already sacking staff," he advised. 

When asked how the surcharge might impact on Meriton's own sales – the group has been reported as selling about one in five apartments to Asian buyers – Mr Triguboff said he was not yet sure, but he might have to drop his prices.

The NSW Treasurer Gladys Berejiklian announced that from June 21, when she hands down the state budget, foreign buyers of apartments, houses and residential land in NSW will have to pay a 4 per cent stamp duty surcharge.

They will also be hit by a 0.75 per cent land tax surcharge commencing in the 2017 land tax year.

Mr Triguboff labelled the new taxes "very dangerous", coming as they did on top of moves by the banks to tighten up lending to foreign buyers.

He also urged caution in light of the decline of the mining sector.

"We have nothing else except real estate. We have to be very careful," Mr Triguboff told the AFR.