Oz property market set to be boosted by expat buyers

Expat Australians could end up boosting the property market down under as they are attracted back home by mortgage rate cuts and the government's $10.4 billion economic package, it is claimed.

Expats are looking to flee the global financial crisis as shown by the increasing number who are making inquiries for mortgages, according to Jennifer Nielsen, chief executive of Loan Market Group, a home finance broking organisation.

'There is strong interest from expatriate Australians, many of them banking and finance professionals, who are looking to return home to escape the credit crunch in places like London and Singapore,' she said.

'They want to buy property before they come back. We now have three in-house brokers dedicated to servicing inquiries from expats on top of our normal inquiries,' she added.

Ms Nielsen said interest from expatriates was expected to escalate in response to home mortgage rate cuts in Australia and the federal government's $10.4 billion economic package. 'The big drop in the Australian dollar is also a huge advantage to returning expats. If they are cashed up in US dollars or UK pounds, they are keen to come into the Australian property market right now and chase a bargain.'

Although the residential property market has slowed in the last 12 months the company has found that the volume of inquiries about home loan finance is actually quite solid. 'The interesting trend is the clear majority of people are inquiring about new finance, as opposed to people who are struggling somewhat and seeking refinance,' she said.

Those wishing to move to Australia are also expected to boost the property market. According to a recent survey 500,000 Brits could leave the UK by the end of this year for a life abroad. New Zealand was voted the best place for British expats to live, and Australia came second.