By Shannon Molloy 
28 Jan. 2023

Foreigners are flooding the Australian property market as migration booms post-Covid, with one major city proving especially popular.

The latest PropTrack Overseas Search Report shows a surge in activity on from buyers and renters based abroad.

Rent searches from foreigners increased by a staggering 65% in 2022 compared to a year earlier and were 20% higher than pre-pandemic levels, PropTrack data analyst and the report’s author Karen Dellow said.

“Buy searches were up 10% compared to 2021 and 11% higher than 2019 levels,” Ms Dellow added.

The sharp increase coincided with a resumption of migration from both workers and students when borders reopened after a two-year closure.

“Total visas issued for all types of entry into Australia were 10 times higher in 2022 than in the preceding 12 months, and specific work and student visas were eight times higher, even with December data unavailable,” Ms Dellow pointed out.

New Zealanders accounted for the most searches for homes to both buy and rent – 30% of all overseas-originating searches. Following closely behind were property seekers in the United Kingdom, United States, and India.

When it comes to foreigners looking for rental properties, all of the leading countries saw big increases in activity in 2022, especially NZ, up a whopping 76%.

In contrast, buy searches decreased in all countries, except for NZ and India, which rose by 13% and 79%, respectively.

Some cities are proving to be more popular than others as potential destinations for these looming arrivals.

“Melbourne proved most popular for both buy and rent searches in 2022, followed closely by the Gold Coast for buy searches and Sydney for rentals,” Ms Dellow said.

“The Gold Coast was the only regional area to feature in the top five, as most property seekers favoured homes in the capital cities. It’s a testament to the popularity of the Gold Coast, that it is known worldwide as a desirable destination.”

Melbourne was the top destination for searchers from India, the UK, China, Hong Kong, and Singapore. Sydney was popular with those looking from the US.

Restrictions on foreign buyers, meaning they can only buy brand-new dwellings or vacant land on which a development is planned, reveals the projects attracting the most attention.

Queens Place in the heart of Melbourne was the most-viewed development, followed by 111 Castlereagh in Sydney’s CBD.

“Immigration numbers will continue to increase in 2023 as students and skilled workers return to Australia,” Ms Dellow said of the outlook for the year ahead.

“Australia’s low unemployment rate and skilled labour shortages will continue to attract migrants from overseas, especially from China and India.

“The arrival of large numbers of migrants from overseas, all seeking rental accommodation, could add to the current rental property shortage experienced across the country.

However, the proportion of overseas property seekers is low compared to those already living in Australia, so the additional burden is likely to be small.”

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