Country Garden subsidiary, Risland Australia has joined a growing cadre of Chinese developers to have offloaded Australian assets in the past three years.

A recent media leak by agents reveals that Windermere estate in Mambourin, one of two Australian assets held by Risland Australia, a subsidiary of debt-plagued Chinese housing heavyweight Country Garden, has been acquired by Frasers Property for an undisclosed amount.

Country Garden paid a record $400 million for Windermere in 2017 but moved to offload the undeveloped portion of the 366-ha estate in July following growing speculation the company was about collapse amid a mountain of unpaid debt.

Country Garden, which has $300 billion in liabilities, came to prominence in Australia in 2018 following an NSW Independent Commission Against Corruption (ICAC) probe into former NSW MP Daryl Maguire over allegations he sought kickbacks for assistance on property deals.

Five years on, Country Garden looks all but certain to default on a $15.4 million bond payment – and requires a grace period to make good on two additional dollar bond payments.

As a result, it’s likely to pursue the sale of its second Australian asset, Wilton Greens estate at Wollondilly Shire, south-west of Sydney with greater alacrity.

Windermere estate

Located within a growth corridor 38km south-west of Melbourne’s CBD, the Windermere estate in Mambourin was originally expected to have up to 4,700 homes (14,000 residents), four schools and a retail village on completion in 2030.

At the time of the Windermere sale to Frasers, which was handled by Oliver Hay, Daniel Wolman, Marcus Neill and Leon Ma from Cushman & Wakefield, there were around 2200 blocks of land yet to be sold at the development.

Early September, Leon Ma noted that “good quality property” was receiving good interest from the market.

While it’s unclear what Frasers paid for the Windermere estate, it’s understood to have come close to the $250 million listing price.

Wilton Greens estate

To the uninitiated, Wilton Greens estate is a 4,500-lot estate 80km from the Sydney CBD. It’s understood that the first stage is almost sold out, with the first houses currently under construction.

While Risland is expected to continue the development of the first and second stages, there will be an expression of interest campaign for stages 3 to 6 of the project, totalling around 330 hectares or 2,380 lots of residential subdivision.

“This will allow Risland to rebalance its portfolio and continue to seek new opportunities to operate in the important Australian market,” the company recently noted.

Despite current efforts to downsize its Australian operations, the company has reassured homeowners that deposits are held in a trust fund.