Sydney-based property agent Forsyth Real Estate announced that it will accept payments and deposits from sellers in digital currency Bitcoin in order to win business from Chinese investors.
Forsyth’s spokeswoman Hayley Johnston said that the realtor became able to facilitate Bitcoin transactions this week, and that it is yet to take any deposit, which it expects to anytime soon.
The 115-year old realtor’s move makes it the first Australian property firm to accept payments and deposits in Bitcoin, according to the Sydney Morning Herald. The move was prompted by the need to win business from expatriates and foreign investors looking to buy property in Sydney.
In June 30 last year, Chinese investors rose to become the largest segment of real estate investors after they overtook U.S. counterparts, sinking A$5.9 billion ($5.5 billion) in commercial and residential property, according to data compiled by Australia’s Foreign Investment Review Board.
“We’re trying to be proactive and innovative, and we do have an influx of international investors and expatriates,” Johnston said. “It’s cheaper and easier because it takes out the middle man, takes out the fees and charges” associated with more traditional forms of payment like bank transfers, she said.
Seven percent of Willoughby residents, where Forsyth has its offices, are of Chinese origin, based on 2011 census statistics. Nearly half of Forsyth’s new home buyers originate from China, said the firm’s senior sales consultant Jane Li, as reported by Bloomberg.
Forsyth’s payments will be facilitated through CoinJar Pty, a Melbourne-based Bitcoin exchange, which has handled over A$30 million worth of Bitcoin transactions since it was launched in May last year.
Bitcoin is currently facing harsh times in various markets such as China, Russia and the United States, with some authorities pushing for its ban or limits on its usage.
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