Expats and international investors stoking the local market

International investors and expats looking to return home to Australia are continuing to show strong interest in many markets across the country and are contributing to upward pressure on house prices.

According to the latest search data from, international search activity for properties was up 6.37 per cent over the past 12 months. Activity was already up 20 per cent in this same segment of the market the year prior.

Many expats are now looking to return to Australia after a relatively successful COVID response. While international investors are clearly noticing just how hot the property market is in many different areas of the country.

According to, the United Kingdom, United States and Hong Kong buyers were more likely to search in NSW but activity from China was down 8 per cent.

New Zealanders were also searching for NSW but were more interested in Queensland. Searches from China are now in sixth place, behind Singapore. economist Anne Flaherty said Sydney was seeing strong interest from overseas buyers, however, Queensland and Victoria are also strong.

“Sydney is expensive by global standards and a lot of buyers, like someone from New Zealand, are going to find much better value elsewhere,” she said.

“Byron Bay was the most searched place in NSW, driven by searches out of the United States due to it being a celebrity hotspot during the pandemic with Chris Hemsworth, Zac Efron, Matt Damon and Melissa McCarthy.

“Byron Bay is your classic example of a suburb that is internationally famous from celebrities who raised its profile to a wider audience.”

In Sydney, Manly, Mosman, Chatswood and Epping were the most heavily searched areas with Manly being popular with buyers from the UK, US and New Zealand.

While buyers from Singapore were most interested in Mosman and those in Hong Kong focused on Epping. Chinese buyers continue to target Chatswood as their top pick.

Ms Flaherty believes international buyers are attracted to suburbs that have large international communities already established.

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Rowan Crosby

Rowan Crosby is a freelance journalist specialising in finance and real estate.