We’ve all seen the headlines and read the news reports about property buyers from China, who are apparently snapping up Australian properties in droves.
Global investment bank Credit Suisse went as far as to put a dollar figure on it, estimating that Chinese nationals will sink around $44 billion into Australian residential real estate in the next half a dozen years.
But did you know foreign property buyers from a completely different nation now have their sights set on our property assets?
According to leading Kiwi media outlet Stuff.co.nz, the surging New Zealand dollar – it’s currently virtually on parity with the Aussie dollar – is prompting property investors from across the Tasman to check out the opportunities down under.
As Stuff.co.nz reports:
The surging New Zealand dollar is pushing Kiwi property investors and holiday home hunters across the Tasman in search of more bang for their buck.
Anecdotal evidence from estate agents and investor groups shows inquiries from Kiwis are increasing as the dollar goes from strength to strength.
Kiwis returning from Australia have placed added pressure on house prices here, particularly in Auckland, but with the Kiwi dollar steadfast in the high 90-cent region, that tide could be beginning to shift.
Ray White Cannington principal Cameron Smart recently sold a property in Beckenham, Western Australia to a New Zealand couple. The couple in their 40s had started looking on a property website in March 2014, but held off on buying while the market was “just crazy”.
Smart said they bought mid-December and settled in the New Year. “I suppose that was when the New Zealand dollar was really good against the Aussie dollar… Instead of living in New Zealand they decided to move over here, I think they saw it as a better investment.”
The Real Estate Institute of New Zealand national median house price hit a record $450,000 in December last year.
Back in 2011, when the Kiwi dollar hovered around 73 cents, this would get you A$328,000.
On realestate.com.au, a small one-bedroom apartment in the central Brisbane suburb of Kelvin Grove was selling for this figure yesterday.
The same $450,000 figure would get A$430,000 this week, which could buy a four-bedroom home off the plans in the Gold Coast hinterland of Upper Coomera.
Kiwi Tim Bourne is almost finished building a house in Angaston, in South Australia’s Barossa Valley, where he moved four years ago for work.
The Australian government “had some good grants going, and it all sort of worked out for us”.
Bourne thought Australia was cheaper than in New Zealand, as wages were higher and the cost of living was slightly cheaper.
But to get to that stage had been “a bit of a battle”. It had taken almost two years, organising finance and council approval had taken a long time.
Australian First National Real Estate spokesman Stewart Bunn said the company expected a significant lift in inquiries from New Zealanders as the dollar neared parity.
“Australians and New Zealanders have long invested on both sides of the Tasman but the opportunities open to Kiwis right now are extraordinary.”
Real Estate Institute of Australia chief executive Amanda Lynch said the institute strongly supported foreign investment in Australian residential real estate as it helped increase housing supply.
Kiwis traditionally look to invest in Queensland’s Gold Coast-Brisbane corridor and suburbs north of Brisbane with good infrastructure, services and a convenient rail or road commute to the central city.
Some commentators speculate it will go further, with ANZ chief economist Cameron Bagrie predicting the dollar will reach parity before the end of the year.
LJ Hooker Australia head of residential sales Chris Mourd did not expect Kiwis to move to Australia just because the currency was strong, unless they had been thinking about a move already.
“The market is driven by lifestyle, family and employment more strongly than parity – those are the fundamentals that are always in place. It will just mean for those who have been thinking about it for a while, it will bring that decision forward.”
Kiwis migrating to Australia were not seen as migrants as they fit in so seamlessly, Mourd said.
Australian Real Estate insights by Real Wealth Australia