Surging immigration sees overseas buyers targeting Australian property

Overseas buyers are increasingly targeting Australian property, with new data showing online searches have surged back above 2019 levels.

According to PropTrack, searches on for Australian homes from overseas property seekers have risen 11.5 per cent over the past three months, while rent searches are up 7.8 per cent.

PropTrack, Senior Data Analyst, Karen Dellow said surging immigration levels are behind the search for Australian properties, in a trend that is likely to continue.

“With migration returning to pre-pandemic levels, we are seeing increased interest from overseas property seekers looking to settle on our shores,” Ms Dellow said.

“Although many migrants will initially rent, stay with family or live in share accommodation, given time the majority will go on to buy a property.”

The most popular location for overseas property buyers continues to be Melbourne, followed by the Gold Coast, Greater Brisbane, Sydney and Perth.

The suburbs that all saw the greatest increase in search volumes were also led by Melbourne.

Brunswick East, Carlton North, Brighton East and Essendon have all seen more than a 50 per cent surge in online interest.

While search interest for Ashgrove in Queensland spiked 45.06 per cent.

Ms Dellow said the largest growth locations for renters are an unusual mix of city and regional areas, with searches for South Western Sydney increasing 111 per cent in the past six months, closely followed by Torquay in regional Victoria.

“There are plenty more beachside locations on the list, including Mermaid Waters and Mooloolaba, both in Queensland,” she said.

Ms Dellow said interest from China waned in 2020, plummeting by 53 per cent in the 12 months to September 2020. 

However, searches from Chinese buyers had rebounded, skyrocketing 36.9 per cent between september 2022 and September 2023.

“The same is the case for rental searches from China, which are nearly double the volumes seen before the pandemic,”  she said.

“This increase is primarily driven by the return of students and migrant workers to our shores.”

She said a quarter of buy and rent searches from overseas come from New Zealand, and interest from our nearest neighbour has increased monthly.

“Rental searches from across the Tasman have increased by 38 per cent from last year, and buy searches are up 7 per cent,” she said.

Rental searches from the UK have also lifted 15.5 per cent year-on-year.

According to Ms Dellow, at the beginning of 2022 when Australia’s international border re-opened, the number of arrivals from overseas began increasing month-on-month, as did search volumes.

“Opening the border had a significant impact on the population, according to recent data from the Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS),” she said.

“Australia’s population grew by 1.9 per cent in 2022 – an increase of 496,800 over the 12 months, which was the biggest increase in 15 years.

“Of that total increase, 78 per cent came from overseas migration, most of which were overseas students.”

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Rowan Crosby

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