Oz expats returning home face property purchase problems

Published:  3 Aug at 6 PM
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Post-Brexit blues and other European negatives are encouraging Aussie expats to go home, but increased property purchase red tape is blighting many plans.

Traditionally, Australian expats working for companies in the UK and Europe are most likely to return home permanently during the last quarter of the year. Upheaval in the UK, Turkey’s instability and terrorist attacks in France have all combined to make thoughts of home irresistible, but Australian property enquiries have declined rather than accelerated.

Brokers working for offshore-based Oz expats are reporting reduced interest across most of the market, fuelled by an increase in red tape and a decrease in banks’ offers to buyers reliant on overseas income. One major group has reduced its maximum loan to value ration by 10 per cent to 70 per cent, foreign currency incomes are being aggressively discounted and minimum deposits are now between 30 and 40 per cent.

However, for the top range of buyers, there’s no such problem, with realtors dealing in luxury homes expecting strong demand from September onwards. High-salaried British-based Aussies are feeling insecure since Brexit and are seriously considering a move back home, especially if they’re working in the finance industry. In addition, the rash of terror attacks just across the Channel in France is fuelling fears London may well be next.

According to one specialist high-value property agent based in Melbourne, he’s expecting a busy end of year lasting into spring 2017. Clients, he adds, will be expats now working in New York, Hong Kong and Singapore as well as London, with Australian powerbrokers and CEOs expected to lead the rush. Buyers at this level won’t have financial hurdles to negotiate, he said.

Another real estate broker is expecting a high level of enquiries from Aussie expats overseas due to the fall in the Australian dollar. However, mortgage advisors working with expats in the Gulf States report workers in the oil and gas industry are holding back and sticking it out for at least another year. At the middle income level, contingency planning seems to be what it’s all about as regards the decision to return to Australia.
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