Australian expats

Stranded Australian expats splash cash on properties sight unseen

PHOTO: Stranded expats are enquiring about luxury property despite not being able to view it in person. Photo: Kay & Burton

Expats desperately seeking to return home to Australia are forking out millions of dollars on luxury property sight unseen, enlisting the help of family or turning to virtual inspections.

Usually over the Christmas period, when wealthy professionals based overseas come home to visit family, those planning a permanent return later take the opportunity to inspect a string of top-end properties for sale.

But the global pandemic and subsequent border restrictions have disrupted the expat real estate market – though it’s not from a lack of demand, even as border restrictions leave many Aussies abroad in limbo.

“There does seem to be very strong interest in getting back to Australia,” Sydney Sotheby’s International Realty’s Daphne Sauvage.

“These are people who have gone off for fabulous jobs thinking they’ve made it, and then find themselves in an environment that from a health or political point of view is not ideal.”

Even without the certainty of a ticket back into the country, expats are spending millions of dollars on prestige property in Sydney and Melbourne’s most exclusive neighbourhoods, or looking further afield.

“The issue for them is – number one – secure the home, then make sure it’s producing income, and then work out how they can exit the situation they are in,” Ms Sauvage said.

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