Overseas buyers seek Australian residential property, not farmhouses so much | farm online

It might surprise many people to learn that foreign investment in Australian farmland has not increased much in recent years.

Sales of large Australian estates and farm clusters to foreign interests like Canada have grabbed the headlines.

But the Foreign Investment Review Board says that in the four years before the COVID-19 pandemic, the value of approvals in the agriculture, forestry and fishing sectors remained relatively stable, between 7 and 8.3 billion dollars per year.

“For the first time in four years, the agriculture, forestry and fishing sector was the smallest sector by value for proposed investment approvals,” the council said.

Residential real estate is where interest is growing from overseas buyers.

In 2019-20, residential real estate saw an increase in the value of approvals of $2.3 billion (to $17.1 billion), according to the Registry of Foreign Ownership of Residential Land.

In a recent report, the council said 174 approvals had been granted for $8.3 billion in proposed investments in agriculture, forestry and fisheries.

The biggest spenders by country were Canada ($2.6 billion) and Singapore ($1.4 billion).

Canadian agribusiness PSP Investments now spends up to $3 billion a year to expand its agricultural footprint around the world – more than half of which goes to Australasian operations.

In 2019-2020, the total number of residential real estate purchase transactions with a level of foreign ownership was 7482 with a value of $6 billion.

The total number of residential real estate sales by foreigners in the period 2019-2020 was 1957 with a value of $1.5 billion.

Most purchases (88%) took place in Victoria, NSW and Queensland and most sales took place in these same states.

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Most foreign currencies changed hands for residential properties under $1 million, accounting for 79% of real estate transactions in 2019-20, down slightly from the previous year.

A state-by-state breakdown of these residential land sales – Victoria 3215, NSW 1950, Queensland 1416, South Australia 302, Western Australia 228, Tasmania 191, ACT 171, NT 8.

Most foreign purchases were for new homes and vacant land.

Sales of foreign-owned properties increased in 2019-20 compared to 2017-2018 and 2018-2019.

Most sales were for new or established homes.

During the reporting period, most purchases (806) in Victoria were for vacant land – with an average price of just over $348,000.

In Queensland, there were 251 purchases of vacant land at an average price of around $390,000.

Overseas vacant land sales in other key states – NSW (112) average price $536,000, South Australia (54) average price $315,000, Western Australia (72) average price $389,000 .

In the FIRB’s annual report, it is stated that the bulk, more than 70%, of approvals granted to foreign buyers were for farms.

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