How will the Coronavirus impact Australia’s property market?

How will the Coronavirus impact Australia’s property market?
Olivia RoundFebruary 25, 2020


Australia’s housing market is a topic which I regularly encounter, whether with our customers, readers or even just friends. Whether you are a homeowner, investor or potential buyer, the housing market will impact you in one form or another.

Since the start of 2020, the market has been performing strongly, where we saw last week’s clearance rate around 80% in both Melbourne and Sydney. The number of properties going under the hammer was also the strongest since 2019, with 1000 and 800 respectively. This statistic was also reflected by the significant increase in listings in our weekly magazine.

While the signs look positive locally, how will the Coronavirus impact Australia’s property market? The main thing to look at is the impact on Australia’s economy. The Coronavirus is set to be declared a pandemic, due to the ease at which it appears to be spreading worldwide. If it can’t be contained quickly, then the impact on economic growth would look dire.

The way I see it, the impact of the virus on Chinese interests in Australian property will be both good and bad. Foreign Investment Review Board (FIRB) reported that foreign investment plunged by 58% year-on-year from $30 billion to $13 billion in the 2017/18 fiscal year – the lowest level in nearly a decade. This will be compounded by the uncertainty around the virus, so in the short term, we will definitely see a drop in demand.

The current travel ban has limited many Chinese nationals to enter Australia, especially the international students with many either buying for the short term or buying when they continue living in Australia after graduation. Also, if China continues to restrict the flow of funds out of their country to protect their own economy, it limits the ability of Chinese investors to buy property in Australia

On the other hand, in the long term, many more Chinese may want to migrate overseas, as the virus has made them feel vulnerable in China. If so, we will see a resurgence of strong demand from Chinese foreign buyers in the near future. But a lot is dependent on how the Chinese Government limits the flow of funds to overseas if the economy is doing poorly and also if any easing of Australia’s policy towards foreigner buyers. 

Unfortunately, no one has a crystal ball to be able to accurately predict the future. We can’t be sure how the Coronavirus health crisis will pan out globally. We also can’t be exactly sure how it will affect the Australian economy or our property market until we see an end to the crisis.

Olivia Round

Olivia Round is the Features Editor of Olivia specialises in news reporting, in-depth editorial content and video + podcast interviews with industry experts.

Editor's Picks