COVID-19 has expat Aussies looking to come home
Australia's handling of COVID-19 along with a weakened Aussie dollar has expats from around the world eyeing a return home.
And Melbourne's western suburbs are emerging as a hotspot for their interest.
The backers of a Footscray development have recorded a 145 per cent increase in demand from expats across the first three months of this year, and their biggest spike in sales for the year followed shutdowns introduced in March.
R&F Property Australia sales director Jon Quayle said the Live City development in Footscray had been popular with Generation Y buyers based in Hong Kong and London.
"They are looking at this from a one- to five-year view, as they aren't sure what will happen with their job there but are happy to live in Footscray," Mr Quayle said.
"Their view of Australia is really favourable, particularly how the government has handled this … there's a lot of transparency in the government."
Lechte Corporation director Chris Paul said amid a series of strong sales, expat demand for the third stage of The Marker development in West Melbourne had also risen during the COVID-19 pandemic - and he expected it could go from current highs of around 40 per cent of inquiry to as much as 50 per cent.
"You can't help thinking it adds to the whole 'world's most liveable city' title that's been with Melbourne for a long time," Mr Paul said.
Earlier stages of the three-building development attracted significant demand from expats based in Singapore, Kuala Lumpur and Hong Kong.
A Sydney-based buyer who grew up in Melbourne and is planning to return has splashed a hefty $2.95 million on a full-floor penthouse at the project.
Realestate.com.au chief economist Nerida Conisbee said a lot of "homesick people" in Europe and the US would be joining the ranks of expats hoping to snare a bargain.
"I reckon for sure it (returning expats) will be an outcome (of COVID-19)," Ms Conisbee said.
With signs expats were already driving deals in Sydney's wealthy suburb of Mossman, Ms Conisbee said Melbourne suburbs such as South Yarra and Malvern would be "areas to watch".
Above Zero development firm boss AJ Batra said he had witnessed a rise in expat inquiry for a luxury development in Kew - the bulk of it in the past two weeks.
However, he said he believed many of these prospective buyers were already considering returning to Australia and brought their plans forward after COVID-19 emerged.
Originally published as COVID-19 has expat Aussies looking to come home