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Australian expats looking to escape coronavirus-riddled countries are driving demand in prestige property

12 January 2021

The dire situation with COVID-19 in places like the USA and UK is seeing Australian expats keen to get out and return home throwing big offers on luxury property without even seeing them.

Generally in the past, expats come home for a visit or holiday and inspect properties in that time if they are planning to move back, but border restrictions have left them high and dry.

Daphne Sauvage is from Sotheby International Realty and spoke to Domain.

“There does seem to be very strong interest in getting back to Australia,” she said.

“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.”

Real estate agents say expats are putting in big offers on prestige property in Melbourne despite not being 100 per cent sure they can get back in the country.

“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.

In an effort to get around buying property sight unseen, prospective buyers have turned to video conferencing, virtual tours and friends and family to inspect on their behalf.

“In this time of no international travel, a lot of expats have family purchase property on their behalf,” Marshall White’s John Bongiorno told Domain.

“It’s not limited to any one particular price range – it varies from $1 million properties to $20 million properties.”

There are around 36,000 Australians overseas currently trying to return home but airlines and states have capped the number of entries allowed each week.

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