Remote and borderless investing has been supercharged by COVID-19, with new data revealing property investors have doubled the distance between where they live and why they invest, in response to the pandemic.
Managing Director of MCG Quantity Surveyors Mike Mortlock said the latest Property vs. Postal survey revealed a picture of changing investor buying habits.
The numbers showed the average distance between a landlord’s home and their investment property had risen from 294km to 559km over the pandemic period.
“Rather than going to ground during lockdowns, it seems investors looked for real estate opportunities further from their home suburbs than ever before,” Mr Mortlock said.
“What’s perhaps most telling is the rapid increase in those looking for assets positioned exceptional distances from their home.
“Buyers investing in locations more than 200km from home rose from 29.5 per cent in January 2020 to 44.65 per cent in November 2021.
“Even more dramatically, the percentage investing more than 1000km from home more than doubled during the period.
“While the results are striking, they were in accordance with predictions we made in July 2020.”
Mr Mortlock said the latest numbers showed just 6.75 per cent of Australian-based investors bought within their home suburb.
“I’d suggest this is a dramatic drop from the proportion we’d have seen 10 or 20 years ago,” Mr Mortlock said.
Where are buyers choosing to invest?
When it comes to Australia’s most popular investment destination, Queensland came out on top, with 37.44 per cent of our investors buying there.
“This was followed by New South Wales with 34.31 per cent.
“Victoria saw just 11.31 per cent of the investor pool, while the rest of Australia made up the remaining 15.94 per cent,” Mr Mortlock said.
A range of factors had made distance buying an attractive option.
“Firstly, lockdowns and economic uncertainty during the pandemic has had Australians thinking long and hard about their financial situation, so investing has been front of mind,” he said.
“Technology makes it possible to buy property from the comfort of a locked-down home.
“Modern day investors see the whole of Australia as a potential market – not just their state or city.
“Also, the surging popularity of regional relocation in this remote working world has boosted those property markets.
“Capital growth rates in many regional centres rivalled big cities in 2021, and investors want to get a piece of this action.
“Finally, it’s very easy to outsource your buying and due diligence to local buyers’ agents. Investors can rely on their advice about where and what to buy, and they are all about the numbers, not the emotional ties of location.”
Mr Mortlock said the next question would be whether this rate of remote investing was sustained as borders reopened and life returned to some semblance of normal.
“While the figures might come back a little, I suspect the world has changed for good and long-distance buying is well and truly established,” he said.
“There’s little evidence we’ll see percentages returning to pre-pandemic levels anytime soon.”