Foreign buying of new housing 'has gone up a lot'. Photo: Paul Rovere
Foreign buying of Australian residential property has moved sharply higher in NSW over the past three months.
For the three months to September 30, 16 per cent of new property was bought by foreigners from 11 per cent in the previous quarter.
Queensland’s share of foreign buyers in new property has remained steady at 20 per cent - the highest in the country. In 2010, the foreign-investor share of new properties was about 8 per cent in Queensland and NSW.
Foreign investors are allowed to buy newly-built real estate, such as off-the-plan apartments, with no restrictions.
NAB group chief economist Alan Oster said the level of foreign buying of new property ‘‘has gone up a lot in recent years’’.
He said: ‘‘It’s becoming a more significant part of demand and it underpins the prices of some of those apartments.’’
Nationally, in the most recent quarter, the share of foreign buyers was 12 per cent from a low of 5 per cent in the third quarter of 2011.
However, with a real estate market in Australia worth about $4 trillion, foreign buyers are unlikely to be influencing median house prices, Mr Oster said.
‘‘But no one really knows because a lot of foreigners do not need Australian banks and the only way that we can get data is to ask the experts in the market what they think it is,’’ he said.
The foreign buyer data is contained in NAB’s Quarterly Australian Residential Property Survey for the three months to the end of September. It is not based on official data, but on the opinions of a panel of more than 300 real estate experts.
Mr Oster said the panel’s forecasts have proved to be very accurate in the past.
NAB economists forecast that capital city house prices will rise by 3.5 per cent in the year to September 2014 and 3 per cent in the year to September 2015.
Rising unemployment is expected to dampen house price growth over the outlook period.