When Robert Ding Chen-long's parents shifted their family base from Taiwan to Melbourne in 1972, the education of their four boys was a priority. The couple chose North Balwyn, close to the private school belt boasting such elite names as Carey Grammar, MLC, Ruyton, Xavier College, Trinity Grammar, Genazzano and Scotch College. The Carey-educated Ding said education rated so highly among the Chinese that the school network continued to influence their property decisions today. 'My mother used to host a lot of student homestays, and one family wanted to send their daughter at the age of eight,' he said. Balwyn and North Balwyn have a high population of Asian residents, so they might already have friends or relatives in the area, or at least would feel at home there, Ding added. The suburb's wide, leafy streets appeal, as do its convenient transport connections and access to shops. Many will live in their Melbourne home for only part of the year. Sometimes the breadwinner will continue to work offshore, as Ding's father did. Increasingly, though, they are buying simply to bank land. Chinese buyers are also astute investors, and they see Melbourne's blue ribbon property as a safe haven for their wealth. 'I have one [Chinese] client who has bought four investment properties - all in Balwyn, and they're still buying,' Ding said. And the numbers add up. According to Real Estate Institute of Victoria data, the five-year median growth rate for property in Balwyn is 93 per cent to the second quarter this year, and 54 per cent for North Balwyn, compared with a Melbourne metro average of 19 per cent.