Australia’s Property Market: Domestic Challenges Over Foreign Influence - Property Inc

Australia’s Property Market: Domestic Challenges Over Foreign Influence

In a rapidly changing housing landscape, Australia’s property market finds itself at the nexus of domestic issues and international dynamics. Despite some voices attributing property price surges to foreign buyers, especially from China, recent analyses suggest the reality is far more nuanced.

Nicholas Spiro, in his piece on Australia’s property dynamics, highlights a swift recovery in the nation’s housing market, particularly in Sydney. Despite a 13.8% plunge in prices from January 2022 to January 2023, the city has witnessed an impressive 8.8% surge shortly after1. This bounce-back has been attributed to multiple factors, one being the influx of international students post the reopening of Australia’s borders.

However, Spiro cautions against pinning the price escalation solely on foreign, especially Chinese, buyers. “Most of the transactions are no longer foreign transactions, they’re local ones [often involving] the same group of people who bought in the past,” points out Peter Li, general manager at Plus Agency in Sydney. This is further supported by data from National Australia Bank that shows foreign buyers only accounted for 9.2% of new home sales in New South Wales in the recent quarter, a significant drop from over 20% in early 2015. Thus, Spiro argues that the domestic factors, primarily a severe shortage of housing, play a more substantial role in the property market’s current state.

Parallel to this, Aidan Devine’s article presents a concerning trend of investors offloading properties. According to the Property Investment Professionals of Australia (PIPA), almost one in eight investors sold a rental property in the past year, with 73% of these properties going to owner-occupiers. This has resulted in a significant number of properties being removed from the rental markets. “Clearly, this would explain the undersupply of rental properties available for tenants around the nation,” remarks PIPA chairman Nicola McDougall. This “mass exodus of private investors from the market” has been attributed to rising interest rates, potential tax hikes, and the need to clear debt.

In essence, while foreign investment, particularly from China, plays a role in Australia’s property market, domestic challenges seem to be the dominant force shaping its trajectory. The combination of a housing shortage, the exit of investors from the rental market, and complex domestic issues underscore the multifaceted nature of Australia’s property scenario.


Spiro, Nicholas. “Australia’s property price surge stems from domestic issues, not Chinese buyers.” ↩ 

Devine, Aidan. “‘Mass exodus’: why investors are jumping ship.” ↩ 

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