More high-net-worth individuals are tipped to flock to Australia as the country emerges as a “safe haven” to the world’s rich fleeing formerly popular world capitals rocked by COVID-19 and political upheavals.
Zac Efron, Sacha Baron Cohen and Isla Fisher are just some of the celebrities that fled to Australia in 2020 as the COVID-19 virus took hold of America and the US presidential race reinforced the nation’s divide.
But experts expect more high-net-worth individuals to descend on Aussie shores as the country earns its name as a safe haven for the rich, and sometimes famous, looking to park and grow their hard-earned wealth.
Founder and director of Rethink Investing Scott O’Neill believes that commercial property stands to benefit from the predicted bounce in foreign arrivals.
“Look how good Sydney has done or, to a lesser degree, Melbourne, but you know, Brisbane, , all these cities, how they've gone versus the big ones like London, New York, these big cities where people would traditionally invest in have had a pretty terrible 2020, and Australia looks like a safe haven. We’ve performed well,” said Mr O’Neill.
“The economy is quite strong. It bounced back quick and people want to live and invest here. And I think that’s going to be a trend we continue to see. So, there’ll be more high-net-worths trying to dispose of their money in Australia. And that’ll be across all sectors I think, and commercial property will really benefit from it.”
While the Hemsworth brothers are touted for driving up property prices in Byron Bay, spending up on multimillion-dollar homes, Mr O’Neill believes that less famous, cash-heavy foreigners are poised to “make good money” by investing in Australian commercial property.
“It’s a cash flow driven type of asset. So, cash flow is the hardest thing to find in today’s world with investing. And capital growth is less reliable, which makes cash flow even more valuable. So, it’s going to be one of those things that just keeps going.”
JLL recently revealed that local commercial real estate will remain a hot commodity for offshore investors in 2021, with major global investors looking to boost their presence in Australia.
According to the agency’s Australia and New Zealand investment market themes for 2021 report, 50 per cent of investors surveyed by JLL are planning to increase their exposure in Australia lured by strong GDP growth, liveability attributes, transparent real estate markets and low volatility of returns.
“The Latin phrase annus horribilis best describes 2020. The policy response to mitigate the downside risk of the economic crisis stemming from the pandemic was unprecedented in Australia and New Zealand. As a result, Australia and New Zealand are now well placed for a sustained economic recovery in 2021,” JLL’s head of research for Australia, Andrew Ballantyne, said.