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The lure of a COVID-free haven, a stable economy and bargain lifestyle homes are driving expats and international buyers into Brisbane’s prestige property market with dozens of sales clocked sight unseen across the city’s top real estate pockets.
Place Brisbane CEO Damian Hackett said the agency had witnessed a sharp increase in cashed-up expats looking to re-establish their roots in a city that had not only handled the pandemic commendably, but offered a better lifestyle at a lower cost compared with the nation’s major southern hot spots.
He said investors were following hot on their heels amid growing market confidence, with off-the-plan apartments close to the city centre in particularly hot demand.
“We’ve definitely seen an increase in inquiry from expats and that’s linked to the fact that they have found their roots back here (due to the pandemic). In fact, there has been a sharp increase and they are realising Australia is a good place to be,” Mr Hackett said.
“We’re also seeing a rise in foreign investment as well.
“A lot of this comes down to confidence and to invest and move forwards and the great thing we have going for us (at the moment) is the availability of funds and the cheapness of funds to move forward. That’s also the good thing about Brisbane – we have been immune to the rises and falls of the market and we haven’t had massive growth.”
Mr Hackett said while Place estate agencies had noticed a sharp rise in expat buyers, the city’s entire market was trucking along smoothly in a post-COVID world, particularly from a listing’s perspective.
“I think in the last three weeks sellers are more confident so we have seen an upswing in listings … but the biggest question for what happens next is economically,” he said.
Alex Jordan, of McGrath Paddington, said their agency had also witnessed increased appetite from interstate and international buyers – with expats particularly driven to buy in Brisbane.
“We’re seen as a safe haven economically, and that’s partly because of the way we handled COVID,” Mr Jordan said.
“We’re looked at from the outside and we’re seen as having a good lifestyle too and that’s what drives the demand. It’s also affordability (luring expat buyers into the market).”
Mr Jordan said while buyer interest was high across all sectors of the real estate market, the rise of international purchasers willing to snap up properties virtually revealed just how much confidence the city was continuing to generate.
“I’m speaking to a buyer at the moment and she’s a resident (living abroad) and she’s looking at properties via Facetime and Zoom – so these buyers are not even physically able to seen them and they are willing to transact sight unseen – that gives me some comfort,” Mr Jordan said.
“The ones that I’m exposed to and talking with are looking at properties above $1.5 million and they are looking for something modern or brand new and in a good location – typically in the more affluent pockets such as the inner west that’s close to quality schooling.”
While he said listing levels had also risen slightly on his end, supply was yet to meet demand with the McGrath Paddington office’s property stock levels down 30 per cent year on year.