The rise and rise of Melbourne’s largest Chinese community: Box Hill - Ironfish

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The rise and rise of Melbourne’s largest Chinese community: Box Hill

As a migrant country, we’ve seen a number of areas transformed by immigration over the years. In Sydney, the suburbs of Chatswood, Burwood, and now Hurstville stand out as prime examples of where our Chinese migrant populations have come to define and develop areas into dynamic, cultural epicentres and economic activity hubs.

Melbourne, soon to become Australia’s most populous capital city, is no different. In certain suburbs of Melbourne, migrants now comprise up to 80% of the total number of residents, driven by a record intake of arrivals mainly from Asia.

In fact, the latest Census figures show that for the first time, the number of Asian migrants to Australia have surpassed migrants from Europe – with Chinese migrants leading the way. After English, Mandarin is the most common language spoken in Australia and Chinese ancestry remains the most common cultural background after English/European.

A second CBD

Home to the Melbourne’s largest Chinese population is the suburb of Box Hill, located less than 15km east of the CBD. In Box Hill, over 60% of residents are either born in China or with Chinese ancestry (35.4 per cent Chinese ancestry and 27.6 per cent China-born). And they love the vibrant, dynamic location, well linked to major transport hubs including trains, bus and tram junctions. Box Hill is also home to a number of schools, TAFE, two major hospitals, and enjoys close proximity to universities (such as Deakin’s Burwood campus) as well as great dining and shopping precincts.

The Victorian Government has designated Box Hill as a metropolitan activity centre under the state government’s Plan Melbourne strategy. Its development has received rare support from government at local, state and federal levels.

Part of the City of Whitehorse, one of the more affluent areas of Melbourne, Box Hill has grown from 15,600 residents in 2003 to almost 21,000 last year. This steady growth has outstripped wider Melbourne’s growth, and has seen the suburb rapidly emerge as a second CBD in Melbourne.

The recent completion of the 36-storey ‘Whitehorse Towers’ in Box Hill – the tallest residential building outside Melbourne’s CBD – is a key example of the suburb’s evolution.

The Chatswood of Melbourne

“Melbourne’s Box Hill is in the midst of a major urban transformation and our Whitehorse Towers development is a landmark project at the forefront of the huge changes to the Box Hill CBD that are underway,” said Ironfish Director, Property & Research, Grant Ryan.

“Because Ironfish has a national platform across Australia’s largest 5 capital cities, we are in a perfect position to spot and act on clear trends and patterns across these cities. One of the most consistent trends is the influence that Australia’s growing migrant populations are having on the makeup of key activity centres outside of a city’s main CBD – suburbs, which usually become highly sought after.

“Over the past 20 to 30 years, Chinese migrants moving to Sydney, for example, have created highly sought after, affluent, Chinese-centric hubs like Chatswood. These are leading indicators of how other suburbs with similar characteristics in other cities, such as Box Hill, will grow and change. “

Investing in future migrant communities

Whitehorse Towers, developed by Ironfish in joint venture with Deague Group, is the first of a series of high-rise developments underway in Box Hill. Whitehorse Towers also incorporates an Art Series Hotel within the building, themed around the artwork of famous Australian artist and Box Hill resident, Zhong Chen.

property investment melbourne

Artist Zhong Chen with Whitehorse Towers in the background. Picture: Steve Tanner Source: News Corp Australia

“I have lived and worked in Box Hill for nearly a decade and I am really proud of this community and its emergence as a powerful fringe suburb of Melbourne,” said Mr Chen. “I love the hotel’s location so much I even purchased an apartment in the same complex and I am looking forward to seeing guests engage with the hotel and my art.”

Late last month, Ironfish helped a record number of investors settle their apartments within Whitehorse Towers, where valuations for the apartments came in around $1000 per square metre above the original price points. 

“Our 500+ investors in Whitehorse Towers apartments have already experienced huge demand within the building and market, with many stories of strong capital growth already, and that is something we are thrilled about,” said Mr Ryan.

“One thing is certain though, if Chatswood and Burwood (NSW) are anything to go by, Box Hill investors will make a lot of money over the next 20+ years.”

At Ironfish, our property and research teams closely monitor the market to identify areas and developments with strong potential for growth.

If you want to find out about the next great area and development for property investment in Australia, register to access our selected properties list.