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International Buyers Hunt For Melbourne Homes

By Rachel Wallace

Melbourne has been the most searched region for US-based buyers this year.

International buyers are eagerly hunting for homes in Melbourne to escape the pandemic, as overseas search activity for Australian properties hits a new high.

Melbourne was the most searched Australian suburb or region for buyers in the US this year on realestate.com.au.

It was in second place with Singapore-based buyers, fourth place for New Zealanders and fifth for those from the UK.

Victorian suburbs were also the most searched areas for househunters in China, with Glen Waverley, Doncaster, Balwyn, Mount Waverley and Toorak all topping the list.

International residents have picked Melbourne as a potential new home.

Belle Property South Yarra director Nick Gatacre said inner suburbs were most appealing to offshore buyers due to their proximity to the city and cosmopolitan lifestyle offerings.

“If you consider aspects of Melbourne you can compare it to London, central Hong Kong or New York as a major city,” Mr Gatacre said.

He said there was “plenty of international” inquiry into local properties despite the lack of overseas travel during the pandemic.

The agent and his family have listed their two-bedroom apartment at 273A Domain Road in South Yarra through his agency with a $1.9m-$2.05m price guide. The stylish pad will be auctioned off on May 15.

Belle Property South Yarra agent Nick Gatacre and his family are selling their South Yarra apartment. Picture: Tony Gough

The 273A Domain Road, South Yarra, pad is up for auction on May 15.

It spans the entire top floor of a converted mansion.

“South Yarra is one of the closest suburbs to the city without actually being in it, and you’re surrounded by parklands, with everything from great restaurants, shopping and the MCG on your doorstep,” Mr Gatacre added.

Realestate.com.au data analyst Karen Dellow said there had been a significant jump in overseas search activity throughout the pandemic.

“The recent UK lockdown drove a large increase in search activity, while searches from the US began steadily growing at the beginning of 2020,” Ms Dellow said.

“Increases in search activity for the top five countries have increased year-on-year, with a 60 per cent increase from the UK and US.”

Grand properties in Toorak like 3/65 Lansell Road are turning heads of cashed up expats.

Chinese buyers also favoured homes in Balwyn, Doncaster and Mount Waverley.

But interest from China into Australian properties decreased from March 2020 to March 2021, dipping 10 per cent – a trend that continues to lower year-on-year.

“Anecdotally, we’re hearing from agents that overseas buyer interest is primarily coming from Australians looking to return home,” Ms Dellow noted.

Offshore investors are typically not allowed to buy established dwellings but temporary residents are able to buy no more than one existing property, which must be used as their primary residence.

Barry Plant chief executive Mike McCarthy said returning expats “with deeper pockets” were drawn to Toorak and Brighton as attractive areas on the “upper end of the market”, with extensive private school options and grand homes.

Pricey lifestyle pads like 17 Chastleton Avenue, Toorak, could also be on offshore buyers’ wishlists.

He said it was positive to see China-based buyers explore areas that offered “cultural familiarity”, as they predominantly searched suburbs with well-established Chinese communities.

Source: realestate.com.au

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