Expats and foreign buyers are keeping a close watch on the idyllic prestige homes of Mosman and Cremorne.

This may well be a combination of low-interest rates, attractive exchange rates and the fantastic lifestyle on offer, but also because Mosman is now the number one destination for overseas buyers. Of the two properties I sold last year in the $7-9m range, one was to a UK national, and the other was a buyer from mainland China.

A suburb that ticks all the boxes

Mosman is an idyllic suburb choice for expats and overseas families with water views, high-end properties, good schools, parks, shops, public transport and close proximity to the city. Often buyers are looking for modern, up-to-date, low maintenance homes – which can either be leased or are ready for the buyer to move straight into. These prestige home buyers have generous budgets and are often willing to pay more.

“Looking for modern, up-to-date, low maintenance homes… [Mosman’s] prestige home buyers have generous budgets and are often willing to pay more.”

Australia as a whole offers economic stability, a glorious climate, high-quality education and health services, and is an incredibly popular destination for both overseas buyers and returning expats looking for a better work-life balance.

The international mix

In the last financial year, foreign buyers accounted for 25.4% of NSW property sales. The value of foreign investment approvals nationally was a record $61 billion – an increase of 75 percent – and that was an increase of 60 percent on the year before. With these numbers only set to grow, reaching foreign buyers is an important part of any real estate sales campaign.

“Offering economic stability, a glorious climate, high quality education and health services, Australia is an incredibly popular destination for both overseas buyers and returning expats”.

When thinking of overseas property buyers, Chinese investors instantly spring to mind. However, overseas prestige home buyers come from many different countries. FIRB (Foreign Investment Review Board) data shows that in the 2015-16 financial year the top five foreign countries to invest in Australian property were:

  • China: $12,406m
  • USA: $6,135m
  • Singapore: $2,945m
  • Malaysia: $2,038m
  • UK: $1,795m

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What attracts overseas prestige home buyers?

Compared to property in Shanghai and London, Sydney real estate isn’t that expensive, particularly when you look at what you get for your money. When combined with the lower Australian dollar, the cost of Australian property has actually fallen for Chinese buyers since 2011. This makes it a very stable, long-term investment when compared to the volatility of other countries and currencies.

Reaching overseas and local prestige home buyers through a buyer’s agent

Many of these overseas buyers use the savvy services of a buyer’s agent to source and secure a suitable property. Many high-end property sales happen off-market, so a buyer’s agent provides a vital bridge to the overseas market sector.

Steve Smith from one of the best buyer agencies SydneySlice helps house hunters from all corners of the globe: “We work for New Zealanders, British, US, Canadians and many expats looking to purchase property in Sydney. Many overseas buyers sit on the sidelines and swoop quickly with our help when the exchange rate favours them. We also deal with a lot of local professionals who have missed out on properties and want some help in securing a home.”

Whether it’s simply connecting buyers with properties, or managing the complete purchasing cycle – from inspections through to picking up the keys – a buyer’s agent is now a vital link in the real estate sales funnel.

The importance of the buyers’ agent today

When I have a new listing, I email about 100 buyers agents, but I have close relationships with the ones who have clients specifically searching on the Lower North Shore. Prestige sales are handled by a few key players in our area. If one of them has a very specific brief, I will approach potential vendors to see if they have interest in securing a premium overseas or local buyer, via a buyer’s agent. It’s a low key, stress-free and private way to sell a property.

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Each year, as Chinese New Year approaches, top buyer’s agents such as SydneySlice have Chinese buyers coming to Australia ready to inspect. However, throughout the whole year, they have many overseas, expat and local buyers waiting for a great home to arrive on the market. As an agent I want my vendors to have access to as many high-quality buyers as possible, and buyer’s agents play an important role in bringing them to the table. Today, staying in very close contact with buyer’s agents is all part of achieving the best possible price for your home.

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