Xenophobia has no place in property

Bidding at auction can test the best of us.

But the stress of rising house prices is no excuse for xenophobia.

Reports that surfaced last week of a family being challenged on their residency status and therefore right to bid by a spectator at a Melbourne auction on the basis of their Chinese appearance are deeply concerning and need to be challenged.

Housing affordability is a legitimate concern, but playing the race card or blaming foreign investors ignores the facts and offers no solution.

It ignores the fact that according to the last Census, one in four Australians was born overseas.

And it ignores the fact that every newly constructed home purchased by a foreign investor enables up to four others to be built, adding to local supply and taking pressure off house prices.

Foreign investors aren’t escalating house prices. We have a decade of under-building and the resulting deficit of new housing supply to thank for that.

The rules around foreign investment are clear – and they are fair.

And when Australia’s prosperity is dependent on attracting overseas investment we can’t let the heat in some housing markets bury the cool logic of reality.