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Business

Chinese forced to sell Sydney mansion

Australia has ordered a Chinese investment group to sell a renowned mansion in a posh Sydney neighborhood. The government said the property was bought illegally under foreign investment rules Down Under.

Australia on Tuesday ordered China's Evergrand Real Estate Group to sell a Sydney mansion worth 39 million Australian dollars ($30 million, 26.7 million euros), with the government saying the Villa del Mare property had been bought illegally.

Rich foreigners, many of them from China, have long been blamed for driving up prices in the country's property markets, particularly in Sydney and Melbourne, thus placing home ownership out of reach for many locals.

Last week the government announced an offensive to enforce rules under which foreigners are only allowed to buy new dwellings and are barred from purchasing existing residential property.

Get out quickly!

Treasurer Joe Hockey said Tuesday he'd made an order that Villa del Mare in Sydney's exclusive Point Piper district be disposed of within 90 days, adding that the matter would be referred to prosecutors, should the Chinese group not sell the property within the specified timeframe.

Earlier this month, the Australian government said it would also

look into overseas investment

in farmland, following widespread concerns about agricultural and mineral assets passing into foreign hands.

The country's foreign investment review board said China was the number-one source of foreign capital investment in real estate in 2013, approving almost 6 billion Australian dollars for the purpose, up 41 percent from a year earlier.

hg/pad (Reuters, AFP)

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