Forget the hot spots. Today we tell you about Australia’s favourite suburbs, the areas people are flocking to to find a place to live. Nerida Conisbee, REA’s Chief Economist, joins us today.
Kevin: One of the things that most investors or property buyers want to know is what are the hot suburbs? We’re going to give you a different flavor today because we’re going to talk about the world’s favorite Australian suburbs. How do they rate overseas?
NationalPortalRealEstate.com.au can get a great feel for this, and in fact, that’s exactly what they’ve done. Joining me to talk about the results, REA’s Chief Economist, Nerida Conisbee.
Nerida, thank you for your time.
Nerida: My pleasure.
Kevin: Tell us about the new report. How did it work, and what did you find out?
Nerida: What we did is we had a look at the most searched-for suburbs by people living overseas. We have around 5 million people viewing our site every month, and what we found was that a fair proportion of them are looking at Australian suburbs from countries all over the world.
What was really interesting is Melbourne came out on top of the list. Six of the top ten suburbs were in Melbourne. South Yarra, four kilometers southeast of Melbourne’s CBD, came out on top. That was followed by Surfers Paradise and then Mosman. Those three suburbs were the most searched-for by people living offshore.
Kevin: We’ll talk in a bit more detail about some of the countries they came from. But do you have a feel for what made a suburb popular?
Nerida: There were a few things. The first one was that for many people searching, an existing residential base of residents from the same country was a key. If you have a look at St. Ives in Sydney, it has a really large South African population. Around 11% of residents are from South Africa. St. Ives came out as the number one suburb searched by people living in South Africa.
Similarly, Tarneit, in Melbourne’s west, has a really large Indian population. It has around 8% of the population born in India. That came up as number one for people living in India. There does seem to be a really strong existing residential base key to what countries people are searching.
Kevin: It’s interesting. I guess they would want to be able to talk to people from their own country because of the cultural differences. Is that the main reason they were searching these areas, because they would know that there’s a predominance of people from their country?
Nerida: I think it’s partly that, but also, I would imagine that people living in those suburbs from those countries are talking very highly of where they’re living. If you’re in St. Ives – it’s a beautiful part of Sydney, very leafy, great schools – and you are talking to relatives or friends back in South Africa, it’s probably sparking their interest. I think that’s also a big factor, as well.
Kevin: When we think about our own lifestyle, we think it would be very attractive because of the sunshine, the beaches, and just our general lifestyle. I’m wondering whether people are attracted to Australia because of the fact that we have kangaroos and beautiful beaches.
Nerida: Beaches came up very highly, particularly for people living in North America and Europe but not so much from Asia. People living in Asia didn’t look at the beach suburbs quite as much. But if you have a look at Surfers Paradise, Manly, Bondi, St. Kilda, they all came up frequently.
There was also some interesting regional variation. People living in Ireland liked Bondi. People living in the UK liked Manly. That was also quite interesting that certain beachside suburbs had a different following from different countries, as well.
Kevin: Were they looking mainly at the suburbs in the cap cities, or were there any regional areas they looked at?
Nerida: Gold Coast came up. I don’t know if you’d really classify that as a regional area. But Gold Coast came up a lot, particularly for the Japanese. The Japanese are still showing a very strong affinity to the Gold Coast. Southport came up number one for them. People living in Thailand were also very keen on Surfers Paradise. So that was a bit of a surprise. I could understand the Japanese link to Gold Coast, but the Thai link wasn’t as clear to me.
Kevin: Yes, because that’s obviously a holiday destination, Gold Coast, isn’t it? You think of your holidays, you think of the Gold Coast right away.
Kevin: What about some of the suburbs: were there any outside of Sydney and Melbourne that came up? In other words, were there any in Brisbane, as an example?
Nerida: Not in the top ten nationally, but certainly, when you have a look at different countries, Coorparoo came up as number one for people living in the Philippines. That was quite surprising. I didn’t expect that.
Kevin: Did they say why they like Coorparoo?
Nerida: We don’t know because we’re really just tracking where people are logging in from. We don’t really know exactly why they’re looking, but I think it might have something to do with the ex-pat community in the Philippines. I think there seems to be a bit of an ex-pat link to some of the countries.
If you look at Singapore, South Yarra came up as the most searched-for suburb by people living there. I don’t think Singaporeans have a particular affinity with South Yarra, but that country has a big ex-pat community. I think that was with people in the Philippines. I think that ex-pat community, potentially out of Brisbane, may be driving that interest in Coorparoo.
Kevin: Were there any other results that came out of the survey that surprised you?
Nerida: The main one was really that Philippines one. I think everything else kind of made sense. The Japanese and the Gold Coast made sense. The strong beachside link also made sense. When you delved into it and you understood the demographics of the area, it did become quite clear.
Kevin: Outside of Brisbane, Sydney and Melbourne, were there any other areas that came up – like Cairns, the Whitsundays, or any areas like that?
Nerida: Certainly not in the top ten, no. They didn’t feature. It did tend to be Queensland, New South Wales, and Victoria, capital cities, and Gold Coast were the areas that were most commonly looked at.
Kevin: Are you able to tell me whether these were people who were genuinely interested in buying properties in these areas, or did they just want to know what the style of houses were like in these areas?
Nerida: We don’t know. We know that these people are searching for these suburbs. There is probably a mix of people who are looking just to see what they could potentially buy, what the houses look like, more from an interest perspective. But certainly, we have a look at people, say, from South Africa looking at St. Ives given we know there is a really strong link between that suburb and people living in that country, it could potentially be genuine buyers. We don’t know, but I would imagine it would be a fair proportion.
Kevin: Anyone listening to this who is interested in tapping into an overseas market, they think they might have a property that might interest an overseas buyer, can you reach those buyers easily through a site like RealEstate.com.au, or should you go to that country and see what they have there?
Nerida: My view is that we have extensive reach. I don’t think there would be many websites that would provide the same sort of reach that we would overseas. I don’t know the exact proportion of people viewing our site from overseas week to week, but we have 5 million viewers looking at our site every month; so even if 5% of those are looking from offshore, you are tapping into a massive audience.
I think if people were looking at property in Australia, we have most of the coverage. We certainly have a huge amount of consumers having a look on the site, so I think our site would be a pretty good start to gauge interest from people offshore.
Kevin: Absolutely. I know, too, that RealEstate.com.au has been gaining an interest in some overseas sites. Obviously, the Internet has allowed us to become like a worldwide store. Obviously, the overseas buyers are very important to us as Australian sellers.
Nerida: Yes, definitely.
Kevin: Nerida, I want to thank you very much for your time and your insight. There are some very interesting results. Are we able to see that report somewhere? Is that available to us?
Nerida: Yes, it will be available. It’s on our website, RealEstate.com.au.
Kevin: Wonderful. Always good talking to you. Thank you very much for your time, Nerida. Nerida Conisbee is the Chief Economist with RealEstate.com.au, REA, the parent company. Thank you for your time.
Nerida: Thanks, Kevin.