Melbourne has been revealed as the top destination in Australia for offshore property seekers as rental interest from China nearly doubles pre-pandemic levels nationwide.
Exclusive new data from PropTrack shows searches from international buyers and renters surged across the nation over the past quarter on realestate.com.au, with Victoria’s capital the most-searched location, particularly for renters in China and the UK.
It also revealed Torquay on the Surf Coast, as well as Mulgrave in Melbourne’s southeast, as the most popular suburbs for overseas rental interest.
PropTrack senior analyst Karen Dellow said Torquay’s proximity to Geelong, Deakin University and Melbourne were key factors for those looking to rent.
“Torquay is attractive for its proximity to Geelong and its coastal lifestyle,” Ms Dellow said.
“Geelong is a thriving hub just over an hour’s drive from Melbourne’s CBD, and is home to a variety of businesses, hospitals and a major university.”
McCartney Real Estate Torquay director Tim Carson noted that rental interest had picked up in the area recently, particularly among expats returning to Australia after periods of living overseas.
“It’s probably because of the lifestyle and how easy it is to commute with the train station at Waurn Ponds,” Mr Carson said.
He added that families were also looking to the area for its proximity to schools like Geelong Grammar, Sacred Heart and St Joseph’s College.
It comes after the Foreign Investment Review Board’s most recent quarterly foreign investment report revealed foreign investors from China spent an additional $1bn on Aussie homes in the past financial year, with up to a third of the buyers seeking properties in Victoria.
PropTrack’s data shows searches to buy homes in Australia were up 36.9 per cent year-on-year in China, while rental searches from China were nearly double the volumes seen before the pandemic after rising 25 per cent since September 2022.
Inner-city ‘burbs Brunswick East and Carlton North were the most-popular search destinations for overseas buyers.
Ms Dellow said this was likely due to significant apartment development in both areas over the past few years, making them attractive options for students and investors.
Nelson Alexander Carlton North director Nicholas West said proximity to inner-city universities and hospitals were driving factors for the suburbs’ popularity among offshore buyers.
“Carlton North and Brunswick East offer immediate access to education and hospital precincts, so we’re certainly seeing (interest) is high in those areas in terms of anyone from Asia,” Mr West said.
“They also traditionally live in high density areas so like being close to (the CBD) and the Chinese community, and don’t want to live out in Point Cook and have to travel all the way in.”
Ms Dellow added that at current construction rates, there soon won’t be enough new properties to accommodate the forecast increase in population.
She said solutions to ease the housing shortage included building more properties in the areas people want to live in, making use of spare rooms in existing homes, and implementing build-to-rent models similar to those seen in the UK and the US to increase supply.