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  • Writer's pictureRobert Norris

Foreign investors buy $5.3 billion worth of Australian residential real estate...

Jake McCallum

May 04, 2024

Foreign investors have snapped up thousands of homes across Australia, with residential purchases by international buyers reaching $5.3bn in value in just nine months.

New data released by Federal Treasury reveals more than 4700 homes were purchased by foreign investors in the first three financial quarters of 2023.

But PropTrack Economic Research director Cameron Kusher has assured first-homebuyers desperately trying to claw their way into the property market they wouldn’t be impacted by the cash splash of international buyers, who are buying into Sydney’s most prestigious suburbs.

The latest Treasury statistics from the register of foreign ownership of residential real estate confirmed 1955 homes were bought by Chinese investors, with an estimate $2.5bn in value. The data revealed Hong Kong investors purchased more than 400 homes, with an estimated residential real estate value of $300m, followed by Vietnamese buyers snapping up 259 properties and Taiwanese buyers picking up 272 homes across Australia. The register is yet to release the figures for the final three months of 2023.

Meanwhile, a Federal Treasury review of the foreign investment register found 664 homes were bought in NSW in the 2021-22 financial year, equating to an investment value of $1.012bn.

Mr Kusher said international investors made up a “very small portion” of Australia’s competitive real estate market.

“International investors are buying up higher-end property, out of reach of first-homebuyers,” he said.

“International investors are not impacting the lower end of the market.

“Australia is a popular destination for international investors, but these overseas buyers are not impacting the market.”

The founder of Australia’s largest residential property buyer’s agency Cohen Handler, Simon Cohen, said international investors flocked to Sydney in droves because: “It isn’t just a beautiful city with prime real estate, it is a city with evidence of incredible investment returns.

“Sydney is the perfect place for overseas buyers to park their money.

“(But) some international buyers are offering millions over the market value and that affects the market in a bad way,” he said.

Mr Cohen’s associate at Cohen Handler, Isabelle Lucas, said Sydney’s stable market for investments had attracted and continued to attract international buyers on a weekly basis.

“Proximity to good schools, beaches, proximity to the city — it’s a very attractive lifestyle,” Ms Lucas said.

“Proximity to good private schools is definitely a trend we’re seeing in international buyers at the moment, that’s something we’ve honed in on the eastern suburbs particularly,” she said.

“We’re seeing a big influx of international buyers attracted to the Bellevue Hill market.”

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