Foreign developers have grabbed a 30% share of Australia's apartment market, a trend not seen since the Japanese office and hotel development boom of the late 1980s.
Overseas investors are behind 13,000 apartments in 37 projects across the country. Based on the average number of apartments completed in 2011, that represents market share as high as 32 per cent, research from property group CBRE found.
About 40 per cent of those were under construction and the rest were being planned or marketed.
CBRE Executive Director Kevin Stanley, ''Asian developers, predominantly from Singapore, are leading the pack, accounting for 92 per cent of all apartments being proposed or developed by foreign companies."
''Development activity in Australia involving foreign companies has reached levels not seen in more than two decades,'' he added.
Frasers Property, a major Singaporean player in Sydney's $2 Billion Central Park project on the old CUB site in Chippendale, is one of the largest foreign investors, accounting for 2,900 apartments.
The next biggest player is the Hong Kong-based Far East Consortium, which is building 2,600 apartments in Melbourne's billion-dollar Upper West Side project on Lonsdale Street.
Malaysian, Chinese, Korean and Indian developers were also major investors.
The push into apartments follows huge foreign investment in commercial property. Asian money accounted for 51 per cent of all the foreign investment in commercial property and 19 per cent of all transactions so far this year, CBRE said.
More foreign development dollars were being spent in Melbourne's apartment market than Sydney's, a result of larger sites being available on the northern edge of the city.
But of the $1 Billion foreigners had paid buying development sites since 2006, a larger proportion went on purchasing comparatively more expensive land in Sydney.
Foreign developers were attracted to Australia because the cost of sites was at a low point in the cycle and its stable economy allowed them to shift equity here and diversify their risk.