Our country’s obsession with property has transcended national boundaries with more than a million Australians looking at American real estate every year, according to new data.
Real estate website Zillow revealed a 39 per cent increase in US property searches by Aussies in the past year. People in the United States, Canada and Australia in particular were purchasing real estate overseas to diversify their portfolio.
Globally, interest rates are relatively low and if you look at the return on investment, the American real estate market has been among the best performing asset class as well as being low risk.
The top three American cities where Australians looked for property were in Beverly Hills, Calabasas and Malibu – the home of the rich and famous including the Kardashians – where the median home price is $3.9 million, $1.5 million and $3.9 million respectively. It’s hardly more affordable for your run-of-the-mill Australian who wants to get their foot in the property market door.
Brett Evans, managing director of Atlas Wealth, a company which gives financial advice to Australian expats, said some of these searches were obviously aspirational rather than based on a serious intent to buy. “Once you crunch the numbers it’s not as appealing an opportunity as you once thought,” Mr Evans said.
He said the deluge of American renovations show on Australian screens had a lot to answer for. it’s not as easy to have an investment property in another country as it is having one three suburbs away.
He cautioned it was not so simple buying a house in Louisiana for $50,000 because Australians could inherit all sorts of tax liabilities at county, state and federal levels as well the expensive ongoing management of overseas property.
The median house price in Nashville is $294,000 and $367,000 in Austin. Zillow predicted property values would increase by more than 3 per cent in each city because of strong jobs growth from the biggest employers in town which include Nissan, IBM and Apple.
It was exactly this combination of strong jobs growth and low entry price points in up and coming American cities like Austin and Nashville that had seen a surge in customers at Australian company WhereGroup.
Typically there is between 30-50 investors buying in the United States in any given month – a massive increase for the company. There are three main groups of Australians who are investing in American real estate and the one way thing they’ve got in common is they’ve got cash to shore up real estate abroad. It’s people who are cashing out of shares, people with reliable cash reserves in self-managed super funds and seasoned property investors with considerable equity in the domestic market.
Previously purchased property in Detroit where starting prices of $40,000 six years ago and now you can’t buy into that local property market for less than $90,000. Early investors doubled their capital and recouped more than 20 per cent in rental yields over several years.
Would you consider investing in the US Market?