Almost half of Australian expatriates are using their high disposable income to purchase property at home, a HSBC survey has found.
The HSBC Expat Explorer surveyed 3,385 expats from over 100 countries, with the second of three reports, Expat Economics, examining financial factors including expat earning levels, spending, saving and investing patterns and the impact of the global financial climate.
Of the Australian expats surveyed, 46 per cent invested in property back home while overseas (compared to the global average of 30 per cent), while 32 per cent of expats living in Australia had also purchased Australian property.
“Australians’ pursuit of wealth through property has clearly not been lost on Aussies overseas, with expats living in Australia also competing for property in the local market here,” Graham Heunis, head of retail banking and wealth management for HSBC in Australia, said.
The survey also revealed that Australian expatriates overseas are earning more than their expat peers despite overall expatriate wealth remaining resilient to the current global political and economic headwinds.
The survey found that more than one third (35 per cent) of Australian expatriates overseas are earning over US$201,000 compared to just 25 per cent of expats in general. At the same, 74 per cent of Australian expats overseas report a higher disposable income now that they are overseas (compared to 70 per cent overall).
“Despite the global and social volatility going on in parts of the world at the moment, Australian expats appear to be financially resilient with higher disposable incomes compared to back in Australia,” Mr Heunis added.
The report also found the Eurozone debt crisis and unrest across the Middle East has some considering a return Down Under.
One third (33 per cent) of Australian expatriates overseas noted a deterioration in the political or wider social situation in their host country. Of this group, half (51 per cent) said they are actively looking or at least thinking about a move back to Australia (compared to 42 per cent for expats in general).
“The UK and UAE are currently home to a high number of Aussies (24 per cent and 10 per cent respectively) enjoying strong earnings. However, social, economic and security concerns in their host country may be enticing some to return to Australian shores,” Mr Heunis added.
The majority (87 per cent) of Australian expatriates claim to have complex finances, yet the survey reveals they are not actively managing their wealth.
“Half of Australian expatriates overseas surveyed make their own investment decisions without consulting an advisor,” HSBC said. “More than half of the respondents rely on family and friends for financial advice, less than half (48 per cent) have a financial advisor, 44 per cent use their bank and 39 per cent rely on the media (newspapers/TV/radio).
“Aussie expats see the value in professional advice, but still make financial decisions unilaterally,” Mr Heunis.
“With challenges like managing international finances, it is surprising expats are not seeking professional advice more often. By actively managing their wealth, expats can find opportunities in managing their money between countries and investing internationally.”