A new study indicates property investors have ‘doubled the distance’ between where they live and where they invest in response to the pandemic.
The analysis also revealed which state most buyers are investing in.
Mike Mortlock, managing director of MCG Quantity Surveyors, said their latest Property vs. Postal survey showed remote and borderless investing had been supercharged by COVID- 19.
Mr Mortlock analysed the details of investor clients in the year to Jan 2020, and then again in the year to November 2021 to reveal a picture of changing investor buying habits.
The numbers revealed the average distance between a landlord’s home and their investment property had risen from 294 kms to 559 kms over the pandemic period.
“Rather than going to ground during lockdowns, it seems investors looked for real estate opportunities further from their home suburbs than ever before."
“What’s perhaps most telling is the rapid increase in those looking for assets positioned exceptional distances from their home."
“Buyers investing in locations more than 200 kilometres from home rose from 29.5 per cent in January 2020 to 44.65 per cent in November 2021."
“Even more dramatically, the percentage investing more than 1000 kilometres from home more than doubled during the period."
“While the results are striking, they were in accordance with predictions we made in July 2020.”
Property vs. postal (MCG quantity surveyors)
|% of investors||Jan 2020||Nov 2021|
Invest in same suburb*
Is more than 200km
Is more than 100km
Is less than 50km
Is less than 10km
Is less than 5km
Is less than 2km
Average distance (km)
*Principal place of residence
“The latest numbers showed just 6.75 per cent of Australian-based investors bought within their home suburb. I’d suggest this is a dramatic drop from the proportion we’d have seen 10 or 20 years ago.”
The analysis also revealed the state most buyers choose to invest in.
“Our figures indicate Queensland was the most popular investment destination with 37.44 percent of our investors buying there."
“This was followed by New South Wales with 34.31 per cent. Victoria saw just 11.31 per cent of the investor pool, while the rest of Australia made up the remaining 15.94 per cent.”
Mr Mortlock said a range of factors had made distance buying an attractive option.
“Firstly, lockdowns and economic uncertainty during the pandemic has had Australians thinking long and hard about their financial situation, so investing has been front of mind."
“Technology makes it possible to buy property from the comfort of a locked-down home. Modern day investors see the whole of Australia as a potential market – not just their state or city."
“Also, the surging popularity of regional relocation in this remote working world has boosted those property markets. Capital growth rates in many regional centres rivalled big cities in 2021, and investors want to get a piece of this action."
“Finally, it’s very easy to outsource your buying and due diligence to local buyers’ agents. Investors can rely on their advice about where and what to buy, and they are all about the numbers, not the emotional ties of location.”
Mr Mortlock said the next question will be whether this rate of remote investing is sustained as borders reopen and life returns to some semblance of normal.
“While the figures might come back a little, I suspect the world has changed for good and long-distance buying is well and truly established. There’s little evidence we’ll see percentages returning to pre-pandemic levels anytime soon.”
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