The Impact of Foreign Investment on Sydney’s Property Market in 2024



Sydney, renowned for its beautiful harbour, vibrant culture, and strong economy, has consistently drawn real estate investors from around the world. The city’s property market is well-known for its vitality and resilience, making it a prime choice for both local and international buyers. One of the most influential factors shaping Sydney’s property market is foreign investment. In this blog, we will examine foreign investment’s role in Sydney’s property market in 2024, looking at historical trends, current conditions, market impacts, and future predictions.


Historical Context


Overview of Foreign Investment Trends Over the Past Decade

In the past decade, foreign investment has been crucial in shaping Sydney’s property market. According to the Foreign Investment Review Board (FIRB), countries like China, the United States, and the United Kingdom have been significant contributors to Australian real estate investment. Chinese investors, in particular, have been attracted to Sydney due to educational opportunities, a stable political environment, and potential high returns on investment.

From 2014 to 2017, there was a notable surge in foreign capital flowing into Sydney’s property market. This increase was primarily driven by relaxed government policies and favourable exchange rates. However, concerns regarding housing affordability and market stability led to tighter regulations starting around 2018. Measures such as increased stamp duties and stricter lending criteria were introduced to cool the market and address these issues.


Key Policy Changes Impacting Foreign Investors

Over the years, several policy changes have affected foreign investors. In 2016, New South Wales (NSW) implemented an additional stamp duty surcharge for foreign buyers, initially set at 4% and later raised to 8% in 2017. This was accompanied by land tax surcharges on foreign-owned properties. Furthermore, FIRB tightened its regulations, requiring foreign investors to obtain approval before purchasing residential properties and imposing significant penalties for non-compliance. These measures aimed to ensure that foreign investment did not disproportionately affect the local property market and to protect local buyers.


Current State of Foreign Investment


Recent Data on Foreign Investment in Sydney’s Property Market

As of 2024, foreign investment in Sydney continues to be substantial, although it has experienced fluctuations due to global economic conditions and domestic policy changes. The latest FIRB data shows that Chinese investors still lead the market, followed closely by investors from Hong Kong, Singapore, and the United States.


In 2023, foreign investment approvals for residential real estate in Australia totalled AUD 15 billion, with a large portion directed towards Sydney. This ongoing interest highlights the city’s appeal as a premier real estate destination known for its quality of life, stable market conditions, and consistent capital growth.


Major Players and Countries Investing in Sydney

Chinese investors remain the dominant foreign presence in Sydney’s property market. Their investments are motivated by the desire for safe asset diversification, educational opportunities for their children, and potential high returns. Other significant investors include individuals and institutions from Hong Kong, who seek stability amid political uncertainties, and Singaporeans, drawn by Sydney’s living standards and investment opportunities. American investors also play an important role, especially in the commercial real estate sector.


Impacts on the Market


Effects on Property Prices and Availability

Foreign investment has significantly impacted property prices in Sydney. The influx of overseas capital has contributed to the steady rise in property values, particularly in prime suburbs. For example, areas like the Inner West, Eastern Suburbs, and North Shore have seen substantial price growth due to high demand from international buyers. This increased competition can make it difficult for local buyers to secure properties, driving up prices and reducing the availability of affordable housing options.


Influence on Local Buyers and Housing Affordability

The presence of foreign investors has sparked debates about housing affordability in Sydney. Local buyers often find themselves competing with well-funded overseas buyers, leading to higher bids and lower chances of securing properties within their budget. This competitive environment has prompted calls for stricter regulations to ensure that local buyers are not unfairly disadvantaged.


Nonetheless, foreign investment also brings benefits, such as enhanced market liquidity, job creation in the construction sector, and overall economic growth. Policymakers face the challenge of balancing the interests of local buyers with the advantages of foreign investment.


For local buyers navigating a market with significant foreign investment, collaborating with professionals like Dan Sofo at Unicorn Buyers Agents can give you a competitive edge. With expertise in off-market properties and an in-depth understanding of Sydney’s real estate landscape, buyers agents can help you make informed decisions and secure your dream property.


Future Trends and Predictions


Expert Forecasts on Foreign Investment for the Next 5 Years

Experts anticipate that foreign investment in Sydney’s property market will remain strong over the next five years, although it may experience fluctuations due to global economic conditions and domestic policy adjustments. The reopening of international borders post-pandemic and the resumption of immigration are expected to further drive demand.


Emerging trends indicate that foreign investors will diversify their portfolios, exploring investments beyond traditional luxury properties, such as commercial real estate and mixed-use developments. Additionally, sustainability and green buildings are expected to attract environmentally conscious investors, aligning with global trends towards sustainable development.


Potential Policy Changes and Their Anticipated Effects

Potential policy changes could significantly shape the future landscape of foreign investment. The Australian government may consider revising FIRB guidelines to enhance transparency and streamline the approval process for foreign buyers. Introducing incentives for sustainable and affordable housing projects could attract responsible foreign investment while addressing local housing needs.


Policymakers might also explore collaborative initiatives with foreign governments to promote bilateral investment opportunities, ensuring a mutually beneficial relationship. If implemented, these measures could foster a more balanced and inclusive property market in Sydney.




Foreign investment has undoubtedly influenced Sydney’s property market, presenting both opportunities and challenges. Over the past decade, foreign investors have contributed to the city’s economic growth and property value appreciation. However, their impact has also raised concerns about housing affordability and availability for local buyers.


Looking ahead, it is essential to balance welcoming foreign investment with protecting the interests of local residents. Policymakers must explore innovative solutions to ensure a fair and sustainable property market that benefits all stakeholders.


If you are considering investing in Sydney’s property market or need assistance with your property search, reach out to Dan and his team at Unicorn Buyers Agents. Their personalised approach and commitment to client success make them a valuable partner in your property journey.


For more information and resources on unique home décor solutions, visit Made Minimal. Made Minimal offers a range of products that integrate international design influences into the Australian market, showcasing how global styles can enhance and elevate local homes. Whether you’re a local buyer or an international investor, staying informed and seeking professional guidance will ensure you make the best possible decisions in this dynamic market.

Author Bio 

Natalie Callister

Natalie Callister is a dedicated writer and design aficionado for Made Minimal. With over a decade of experience in interior design, she specializes in blending international design influences with Australian sensibilities. Natalie’s work focuses on minimalist aesthetics, offering readers practical tips and insights for creating elegant, functional spaces.


When not writing or designing, she enjoys traveling, practicing yoga, and spending time with her family. Discover more of Natalie’s design inspirations at Made Minimal.

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