— This is the script of CNBC's news report for China's CCTV on February 4, Wednesday.
Australian Prime Minister Tony Abbott said he had ordered a review of foreign investment rules to ensure locals were not disadvantaged.
"The government will shortly put in place better scrutiny and reporting of foreign purchases of agricultural land," Abbott reportedly said in a broad speech to the National Press Club. "And better enforcement of the rules against foreign purchases of existing homes so that young people are not priced out of the market."
Australia already has strict rules on paper regarding the purchase of property by foreigners. Non-residents cannot buy homes, while restrictions apply to temporary residents too and are subject to approval by the Foreign Investment Review Board. Abbott told reporters the previous government, however, had failed to enforce the property rules.
Now, Abbott's administration will ensure tougher scrutiny of foreign purchases of existing residential homes.
Demand by foreigners for properties in Australia is reported to be growing. A National Australia Bank survey showed one in six home purchases in 2014 was by foreigners, among whom American, Canadians, Singaporeans and Chinese are the top 4 buyers.
Shortly after the rates cut announcement from RBA, the country's two biggest banks cut interest rates for home loan customers, with the Commonwealth Bank matching the Reserve Bank's reduction and Westpac giving customers a slightly bigger rate cut.
Analysts say it will take some pressure from Australians who are trying to purchase homes.
[JOHN SYMOND / Founder & CEO, Aussie Home Loans] "I've been in the busineess for 40 years and I've never seen competotion for one of your business in the mortgage world. I think with this rate cut, it's going to intensify the mortgage because the economy is sluggish banks feel very safe in lending to mums and dad home borrowers more than any other sector of their lending. The lower the inetrest rates go, the more appetizing it is for buyers to get in and paritcularly if you leave your money in the bank, you're getting very little interest and you got a pay tax on it and that really incentivise people to find a better way to get a yield and alot of those people are going to home ownership ."
CNBC's Qian Chen, reporting from Singapore.