PropTrack Overseas Search Report - October 2023

Karen Dellow
Karen Dellow

Interest from overseas property seekers is skyrocketing as migration has returned to pre-pandemic volumes.

Since the last Overseas Search Report in July 2023, searches from abroad have continued to increase, with buy searches up 11.5% in the past three months and rent searches up 7.8%.

Both buy and rent searches are now well above pre-pandemic levels and are set to continue rising now that migration has returned to previous levels.

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% from last year, and buy searches are up 7%.

Interest from China waned in 2020, plummeting by 53% in the 12 months to September 2020. However, in March 2023, searches for properties to buy skyrocketed and have returned to pre-pandemic levels.

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

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

In July 2023, arrivals from migrant workers and students hit the highest level since January 2020, averaging 265,000 new arrivals each month over the past six months.

Rental searches in particular are a leading indicator of overseas migration and have mirrored the trend of permanent and student arrivals to Australia, illustrating new arrivals’ relationship with the rental market.

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).

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

Of that total increase, 78% came from overseas migration, most of which were overseas students.

Comparing the increase in rental searches over the same period, the data also shows a significant increase in interest from overseas searchers.

Where are overseas property seekers looking?

The most searched location in the past six months on was Melbourne, which is hardly surprising considering it is the first port of arrival for many migrants and is also a major centre of commerce and study.

The Gold Coast was one of the most searched locations for overseas property seekers.

The sandy beaches and year-round sunshine of the Gold Coast were also in high demand with overseas buyers.

Renters were also attracted to Melbourne, Sydney, and the Gold Coast above all other locations.

The suburbs where overseas interest has increased

Searches for properties to buy in Brunswick East in inner Melbourne, have increased by 60% in the past six months, closely followed by Carlton North.

Both suburbs have experienced significant development in the past few years and are close to the University of Melbourne and the CBD.

The largest growth locations for renters are an unusual mix of city and regional areas, with searches for South Western Sydney increasing by 111% 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.

22 Hickford Street, Brunswick East, Vic
Brunswick East in inner Melbourne was among the most searched suburbs for overseas property buyers. Picture:

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

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.

Data from the ABS shows that 62% of permanent migrants end up buying their own homes in Australia.

Therefore the top locations searched for by overseas property seekers will likely be where migrants set down permanent roots in the future.

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