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“Expat factor” fuelling sky-high property sales
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  • The return of expats is adding to sky-high property sales across the nation, according to the Property Investment Professionals of Australia (PIPA)
  • PIPA Chairman Peter Koulizos said expats were returning home with plenty of real estate dollars behind them
  • Koulizos said Sydney, Brisbane, Adelaide and regional areas are securing record sale prices due to “new money” coming from more expensive interstate locations
  • Real Estate Buyers Agent Association (REBAA) President Cate Bakos said expats were having an impact in Melbourne as well, but local buyers weren’t giving up without a fight
  • “At the higher price points, and specifically in the family home markets, expats are represented by a reasonable share of buyers for certain," Bakos said

The return of expats is adding to sky-high property sales across the nation, according to the Property Investment Professionals of Australia (PIPA).

PIPA Chairman Peter Koulizos said expats were returning home with plenty of real estate dollars behind them, often in stronger currencies than the Australian dollar, which supercharges their buying power even more.

“Expats from expensive cities like London, Hong Kong and New York often don’t consider our real estate prices unaffordable and are happy to pay what is necessary to secure a prestigious property in a desirable location,” he said.

“Our members report that some of the sale prices being achieved in Sydney, for example, seem insane — even in booming market conditions — with new money or the expat factor the likely reason,” Koulizos continued.

“Indeed, some properties are selling for hundreds of thousands of dollars more than what anyone — including experts — had predicted, which is leaving sellers very happy, but many buyers and property investment professionals scratching their heads somewhat,” he concluded.

Koulizos said other locations, including Brisbane, Adelaide, and regional areas were also securing record sale prices due to “new money” coming from more expensive interstate locations.

Real Estate Buyers Agent Association (REBAA) President Cate Bakos said expats were having an impact in Melbourne as well, but local buyers weren’t giving up without a fight.

“Cashed-up expats are certainly contributing to some of our silly runaway prices in Victoria, but we also have a lot of bottled-up energy from local buyers, too, particularly those who have managed to save during COVID,” Bakos said.

She said the cost of borrowed money, combined with the government incentives in Victoria, had exacerbated the supply–demand imbalance, particularly in the $900,000 to $1 million price bracket.

“At the higher price points, and specifically in the family home markets, expats are represented by a reasonable share of buyers for certain,” Bakos said.

“Buyers’ agents are definitely privy to this, given expats are a cohort who typically do reach out for professional assistance, but it is fair to say that many expats are struggling to keep up with and accept the sheer pace of our market growth at present,” she concluded.

According to CoreLogic’s March National Home Value Index, the premium end of the market is leading the acceleration in the rate of capital gains at present. Meanwhile, across the combined capitals, the upper quartile of the market recorded a 3.7 per cent lift in values in March.

“Previously, it was premium value properties that were leading the downturn in these same markets,” CoreLogic Research Director Tim Lawless said.

“However, more recently this trend has reversed as buyers take advantage of improving economic conditions and record low interest rate.”

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