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Returning Australian expats fuel housing demand

Market insights 2 months ago Read time: 3 minutes

Expats are returning to Australia in their thousands, fuelling housing demand and impacting property prices – according to estate agents and CEO of investment company Custodian, John Fitzgerald. 

Real Estate firm Knight Frank have also asserted that, due to decreased interest from international buyers as a result of COVID-19, high-end demand is coming predominantly from expats and local buyers – particularly with expats returning home amidst the uncertainty of the pandemic. 

Queensland is experiencing increasing levels of interest from expats, with agents at local agency Ray White stating that they are receiving numerous enquiries from expats every month, looking to purchase property in Australia’s sunshine state. 

COVID-19 has forced many of the more than 1 million Australians living overseas to reconsider the viability of living and working away from the comfort and economic support of home – with thousands of expats arriving back in Australia every week.

Brisbane appears to be pulling ahead of Melbourne and Sydney in terms of desirability, with Ray White agent, Christine Rudolph, explaining, “people want to be somewhere they know is safe and secure, and the appeal of Brisbane is that it’s an easy city, with low crime rates, a steady climate and offers amazing value for money.”

Custodian CEO, John Fitzgerald points to reports indicating the immediate impact the returning expats will have on the Australian property market. “As more people return looking for somewhere to live after they make it out of hotel quarantine, there is no doubt there will be increased pressure on the rental market and property market.”

“Vacancy rates have dropped in almost every capital city in Australia, with the exception of Melbourne in the past month. The majority of vacancy rates in capital cities throughout Australia are now well below 3 percent, which normally reflects a balanced rental market.”

“Those figures are good news for investors. It means their properties will rent and the demand should keep weekly rents steady, if not push them higher.”

Fitzgerald and demographer Bernard Salt discussed the impact of returning expats on the Australian property market earlier this month, highlighting the significant influence the thousands of returning Australians will have on strengthening the market.

“Expats are often early-to-mid career, which means they have the means to enter the property market to rent or buy in Australia,” says Bernard Salt. 

These interesting findings come off the back of a survey conducted by Westpac bank, showcasing the increasing confidence from Australians in the property market, which experienced a boom in October. Westpac recorded an “extraordinary” surge in increased confidence, off the back of the federal budget.

Despite the pandemic-induced recession, the survey – which analyses consumer sentiment in Australia – saw house price expectations and the “time to buy a dwelling” index bounce back in the past month.

Bernard Salt echoes this sentiment, “Ultimately, I think we will return to strong levels of immigration and strong levels of demand for residential property.”

“I think that Australians have every reason to be confident in the future.” 

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