Property down under: relocating with Phil Spencer

TV property presenter Phil Spencer will be on Channel 4 tomorrow night offering his top tips for making a move to Australia, and landing on your feet in the Australian property market.

In the programme Relocation: Phil Down Under, Phil will be drawing on his own property experience and knowledge of the Australian market, to help four British families find their dream home.

Phil has visited Australia many times over the past 20 years, starting with a year as an outdoor education instructor and sports coach with a school on the Gold Coast having just left school in 1989.  Phil and his Australian girlfriend Fiona, now wife, also travelled for three months in the country in 1999 and go back every year for monthly holidays at Christmas.

The four families in Relocation: Phil Down Under are a small part of the some 40,000 Brits who emigrate to Australia every year, keen to take advantage of the arguably more affordable housing market.

The first family being screened in tomorrow night’s episode is the Davidson family. Lee and Bronagh Davidson, an insurance salesman and teacher with three daughters, from Essex are giving up their three-hour commutes and small, expensive house in search for an improved quality of life.

After completing the Australia immigration process, the family wants to move to Perth, and had their heart set on a detached four-bedroom house with a swimming pool within walking distance of the beach. They got the lot for £275,000.

What is the current state of the Australian property market?

The Australian economy has performed relatively well during the global recession, in contrast to the UK market, and so Australian houses have largely retained their value. Argueably though, there are still opportunities for house hunters to purchase properties for considerably less than the equivalent in the UK.
The well-respected annual Financial Times Property Index for June 2009 shows that the UK house prices were 13.1 per cent lower in 2009 than in June the previous year. Coupled with a strong Australian dollar, comparing property prices is perhaps not favourable until you consider what your money can purchase you in Australia.

What is the cost of an average Australian house?

The Real Estate Institute of Australia’s Real Estate Market Facts research showed the average three-bedroom freestanding house in Australia in the June quarter of 2009 was £255,478 (this figure has been converted to Sterling using the exchange rate of 1.79 Australian dollars to the British pound, as provided by on 23 October 2009).

According to live tables of the housing market and house prices provided by the Government’s Communities and Local Government website, the average UK house price in the same quarter was £224,064, but to buy the equivalent to the Australian three-bedroom house in the UK the average price is £344,989.

Certainly, with six state and two territories in Australia there are also many locations from which to choose.

Relocation: Phil Down Under begins on Channel 4 on Friday, 22 January at 8pm.

- Stephanie Bradley is Content and Communications Editor for the Australian Visa Bureau.