Australia's international border opened on 21 February 2022 to double-vaccinated tourists and visa holders after nearly two years of the border being closed.

The latest overseas arrival data from the Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS) revealed total arrivals to Australia started rising 'sharply' weeks earlier.

Specifically, short-term arrivals 'dominated' Australia's new arrivals in December 2021, despite being equal to only around 10.4% of arrivals in December 2019 according to CoreLogic.

Of the December 2021 arrivals, 34% intend to stay less than one month, 52.5% said they would stay for one to six months, and 13.6% would stay between six to 12 months.

Eliza Owen, Head of Research Australia at CoreLogic, said the return of overseas migration and housing demand is expected to be 'slow', and that many of the most impacted markets have seen a 'recovery trend' since early last year.

"[This recovery is] thanks to relatively affordable rents, a decline in total listings, and more recently, temporary migrants such as university students and visitors," Ms Owen said.

"While priorities for entry to Australia at the end of 2021 were focused on returning Australian citizens and their relations - which could see people staying with friends or relatives - there will no doubt start to be an increase in demand for short-term accommodation."

She said that in terms of the 'high' portion of student visa entrants, rental demand for this cohort will be 'concentrated'.

"Rental demand from this cohort of migrants is likely to be most concentrated across the inner city precincts of the capital cities and within close proximity to academic hubs," Ms Owen said.

Opposing the idea migration will be 'slow' is Propertyology's Head of Research, Simon Pressley, who said Australia has always been a 'major importer' of overseas migration.

"With 230,000 new jobs currently available but not filled, there has arguably never been a more important time for overseas intake of skilled labour," Mr Pressley told Savings.com.au.

"Contrary to widespread general perceptions, there has never been a direct link between overseas migration volumes and property values. It’s merely one of umpteen factors that influence property values."

'Seriously fearful' about how international border reopening will affect rental markets

Mr Pressley said he's 'seriously fearful' of the consequences of the border reopening to an extra 200,000 when Australia "already does not have enough rental accommodation for our existing residents".

"People with good jobs and strong rental histories are already living in caravans and tents because there’s no vacancies," Mr Pressley said.

"Tensions are already high. What next, civil unrest?"

He said there is 'no rental supply available'.

"This supply crisis was created by a series of poor policies," Mr Pressley said.

"It’s intensely frustrating that the d***heads in high places who created this crisis still don’t understand that a baseball bat to the head of those Australians who supply 85% of the national rental pool does the opposite of creating more rental supply."

Mr Pressley said that over the last decade, around 65% of Australia's total overseas arrivals settled in just two cities: Sydney and Melbourne.

"Moving forward, Propertyology anticipates the rest of Australia will receive a bigger share of population from overseas migrants," he said.


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