Overseas buyers still targeting Australian property

Foreign buyers remain focused on Australian property, with new data showing search volumes to rent and buy have risen over the past 12 months.

However, government moves to reduce immigration to ease the housing crisis could see demand fall. 

According to PropTrack, overseas search volumes to buy on realestate.com.au increased 0.8 per cent compared to last year, while searches for rentals were down 2.3 per cent.

At the same time, overseas search volumes to rent were up 32 per cent compared to the five-year average and foreigners wanting to buy were 20 per cent higher.

PropTrack Senior Data Analyst, Karen Dellow, said changes in student visa regulations awere curtailing the influx of new arrivals, and this could slow demand.

“Recent governmental mandates concerning students and educational institutions have led to a decline in visas granted to overseas students intending to study in Australia,” Ms Dellow said.

“In March 2024, there were 44,580 international student arrivals, a decrease of 9060 students compared to the preceding year.

“Given the correlation between issued student and work visas and the volume of rental searches on realestate.com.au, both are anticipated to decline proportionally due to these policy changes.”

All major overseas countries recorded a slowdown in searches for properties to purchase ,bar the United Kingdom, where searches to buy grew by 6.9 per cent over the year.

The United Kingdom (8.1 per cent), New Zealand (2 per cent) and China (0.5 per cent) were the only countries to experience yearly growth in rental property searches of the seven major countries.

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Ms Dellow said prospective renters predominantly concentrated their searches in NSW and Victoria, likely influenced by Melbourne and Sydney serving as primary arrival points for international flights, as well as the volume of businesses and universities located in these cities.

Prospective renters concentrated their searches in NSW and Victoria, with Sydney and Melbourne CBD ranking as the most searched locations in the country.  

“These areas serve as primary international arrival points and are recognised as major centres of commerce and study,” Ms Dellow said.

While the Gold Coast continues to captivate overseas property seekers, with its sunny climate and beachfront location making it the most searched-for location for buyers and the third for renters she said.

Brisbane and Perth also enjoy popularity among both buyers and renters from overseas.

In terms of specific suburbs beyond the CBDs, Brighton garners the most attention from overseas property seekers looking to purchase.

“This is unsurprising given its status as one of Melbourne’s premier blue-chip suburbs, situated adjacent to the bay,” Ms Dellow said.

For renters, Richmond, in Melbourne, emerges as the top suburb after CBD areas, attracting property seekers with its abundance of tech companies, vibrant culture, and proximity to the city centre.

West Side Place in Melbourne secured the top spot as the most viewed new development in the past year, boasting an array of amenities such as sky gardens, pools, gyms, dining rooms, and even a cinema and karaoke lounges.

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Looking ahead, the government’s efforts to restore migration to a “sustainable level,” particularly through stricter student requirements, have the potential to impact overseas traffic volumes on the site, Ms Dellow said.

“If Australia adopts more stringent immigration policies, overseas buyers and renters may redirect their attention to more welcoming nations,” she said.

“The forthcoming months will provide further clarity on these trends.”

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