While border closures resulting from COVID have slowed Australian property sales to international buyers, experts predict that the luxury market may perk up in 2022 as travel restrictions relax and ex-pats return to the country.
“Travelers from New Zealand and Singapore who are inoculated against Covid-19 will be able to enter New South Wales and Victoria, Australia’s two most populous states, from November 21 without quarantine,” explains Ken Jacobs of Private Property Global in Sydney. According to a recent travel update from the Australian Government Department of Health, fully vaccinated Australian citizens and permanent residents can travel overseas without an exemption. There will also be reduced quarantine requirements for travelers when they return to or enter Australia.
“We are fielding inquiries from ex-pats coming in over Christmas who are looking to purchase while here. There is certainly pent-up demand from both ex-pats and foreign purchasers,” Jacobs notes.
Jacobs believes pent-up demand is “due to a shortage of stock, which has been compounded for travel restrictions for international buyers because of the 14-day hotel quarantine requirement.” That two-week mandated hotel stay has eased up Jacobs reports. “We are seeing increased demand from ex-pats in Asia, United States, and the UK. Now that a number of ex-pats can enter Australia without the requirement of a 14-day hotel quarantine, there is increased contact from buyers who intend to travel to Australia over the Christmas/New Year period.”
One current listing with a “price upon request” that may appeal to those returning ex-pats is a recently listed penthouse with international appeal. Here’s an overview of the property: A premier penthouse within the coveted Bennelong Apartments with views extending across Circular Quay to the iconic arch of the Sydney Harbour Bridge and the Opera House. Some 230-plus square meters of floor space features a functional layout for private living with three bedrooms, a stone-finished kitchen and a private study zone.
Residents of the building have access to to first-rate amenities, including a 24-hour concierge, plus a pool, sauna, and gym. Additional contemporary comforts include secure side by side parking spaces as well as a generous storage area. In the very heart of Sydney, there are acclaimed culinary delights and cultural experiences only footsteps away.” Jacobs confides the price is priced around AUD 15-16.5 million.
According to Jacbos, the current market in Sydney looks like this as 2022 approaches: “We also have foreign purchasers inquiring on Sydney property and carrying out general due diligence prior to traveling here. There have already been several ex-pats returning permanently to Australia who have spent 14 days in hotel quarantine and subsequently purchased.”
The main issue for foreign buyers is the Australian Foreign Investment Review Board restrictions which, only allow non-residents to purchase apartments in new developments. There is good news for ex-pats, though, who choose to stay in Australia. “Foreign purchasers moving permanently to Australia are able to obtain Foreign Investment Review Board approval to purchase established (previously lived in) properties,” Jacobs explains. The majority of ex-pat and international buyers are looking for family homes in the eastern suburbs and lower north shore of Sydney, and some want to buy close to private schools.
On the plus side, the travel restrictions and inventory shortages have motivated some buyers to move forward. “We have had several cases where ex-pats have purchased without seeing the property because of travel restrictions and a desire to secure a property in the rising market. One sale was at US $7 million and the other at US $40 million. In each case, the buyers knew the areas and had family members inspect and report back to them,” Jacobs said.
Look to Sydney’s property market to heat up as travel restrictions relax and buyers who have been waiting appear.
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