The expat resurgence is coming - December 2018
There’s a reason that Peter Allen song I Still Call Australia Home gives collective goose bumps to us Aussies – particularly those abroad.
Put simply, it’s true. No matter where in the world we take ourselves for extended periods of time, there’s still the draw back home, from iconic beach lines to the bustling cities, to the red dust outback and beyond.
And at present, you can almost see them now over the horizon. From New York, Los Angeles and London, from Hong Kong and Singapore, these expats are venturing back to Australia in droves.
We are a very fortunate country indeed. So, if you’re lucky enough to hold a passport with the ‘roo and emu’ coat of arms, it’s a fair bet you’ll find your way back at some stage.
And all these prodigal sons and daughters of Down Under – well, they’re keen to buy. With prices softening and currency exchange rates smiling in their favour, these away-from-home Aussies are clamouring to take advantage.
But what does the influx of returning residents mean for our market?
Let’s have a look.
An appealing prospect
This now highly connected world has allowed expats to have kept one eye on the real estate situation back in Australia and, like those on the ground, they’ve probably been watching in wonder.
Property prices in most cities were booming until 2017, with auctions drawing bumper crowds were many happy to bid well above the guide price to secure just about anything, and at just about any cost.
The idea of buying a property back at home wasn’t an attractive one for the expats. It was too expensive, the competition was too tight and the exchange rates meant they’d pay a hefty premium on an already hefty premium.
Well… how things have changed.
Property prices in Sydney have cooled by about 10 per cent from their peak and they’re not far behind in Melbourne. For those still watching, they’re thinking it’s never been a better time to get a foothold in their home country. Particularly in these two cities.
Last week, Domain reported that activity in the expat market is the strongest it’s been in several years. They’re striking while the iron is hot – or rather, while the market is cool. With many people spooked or holding back to wait and see what happens, these savvy buyers can snap up significant discounts without too much brawling with other prospective purchasers.
In their view, they can buy something at a ‘bargain price’ now, rent it out until they’re ready to come back permanently, and then move into a home that would’ve otherwise been a stretch.
For others, it’s simply a prudent long-term investment strategy – to buy low, hold and then sell high, or leverage the increased equity for other properties down the track.
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The hunt is on
A wintery, deep, dark cold always settles on those Aussie expat hot spots of London and New York come year’s end.
Imagine you’re trudging to work through a foot of snow or against blistering winds, dreaming of instead being stretched out on the beach at Bronte or sipping a cold beer while gazing out over the Harbour.
That’s where these buyers are looking in Sydney – to the east. Think Paddington, Rose Bay, Bellevue Hill and Darling Point. On offer are really solid properties – both houses and spacious apartments – in fantastic locations with a wealth of lifestyle amenities on offer. They command strong rents and will hold their value, despite any current dips.
For the seriously cashed up expats, they’re investigating the prestige market. It’s slipped in price, but not too savagely, and has limited supply. They’re looking at future homes for themselves in Vaucluse and Woollahra, already imagining themselves living there when their time is ripe.
In Melbourne, it’s a similar story. Suburbs like Brighton, South Yarra, Hawthorn and Toorak offer some pretty good buys at the moment. Expats can source something for much cheaper that will offer them a good nest egg when it’s time to come home and either sell or renovate and move in.
In the meantime, demand from tenants remains high so these investment vehicles can generate rent to helping service some of their debt and maintenance costs.
Foreign cash movements
The US dollar has been a bit like a yoyo over the past year, up and down, without too much ability to predict its movements. Looking at the overall American political and social psyche at the moment and, I guess, the volatility is understandable.
It’s much the same with the British pound, which is likely to continue experiencing a bit of a roller coaster ride of fortunes.
Expats increasingly feel like now is the time to cash in by taking their hard-earned foreign money home to Australia and exchanging it for their own piece of Oz.
We are at a moment on time that is seeing expat momentum, coupled with the really good opportunities to crack into the market, lead resurgence of Aussies back home from abroad.
Of course, you don’t need to make the journey home wasting time and money by looking for your Australian holding yourself. Instead, contact us. We have a host of off market opportunities to uncover for you. We’ll do all the grunt work back here to source and secure the perfect abode ready with a welcome mat for when you return to our shores.
If you would like us to help find you the right property, then click here to: