The Real Estate Institute of Australia has revealed statistics that show British buyers bought over £1.2 billion worth of property in Australia last year and there has been a 300% increase in the number of Britons relocating down under in the past five years, so it seems a credit crunch at home and in Australia is not stopping Brits from moving to Australia.

The appeal of the nation is evergreen and universal with almost as many people wanting to retire to live in Australia as move to live and work there in their younger years, so just what is it about the country that makes it so appealing to Brits, and in all seriousness, will the credit crunch affect the allure of the nation?

The majority of Brits who are buying property in Australia are doing so to live in.  There has of course been investment in the country over the past decade or so when property prices were climbing and British buyers were looking anywhere and everywhere for property based opportunity, but as stated the vast majority of British purchasers buy in for their own accommodation needs.

In terms of what is driving record numbers of Brits to Australia, (23,000 Britons made the transition in 2006 alone), it’s about lifestyle, the cost of living, the weather and the broad opportunities that Australia seems to offer.  An additional major plus in the nation’s favour is that there is no language barrier and what’s more, Australia wants us Brits!  It is actively seeking well skilled and qualified Britons to relocated ‘down under.’

The pace of life in Australia is more laid back, the cost of living is more affordable, the work environment is more relaxed and informal, there is an energy and positivity about the nation that seems to be lacking in the UK – and all in all, for many Brits Australia just seems like such a better choice for a far better overall lifestyle.

However, before you get too excited and sign up for relocation, you need to know that even if you are degree qualified and you think that this will guarantee you access to the nation, be aware that skills based on work experience are also required for the majority of working based visas.  People planning a move need to begin applying for their visa well in advance of their proposed relocation date as the application process can be lengthy.  Changes to immigration policies do happen but are widely announced and can be found via sites such as http://www.immi.gov.au/.

Another thing to think about before you plan a new life living in Australia is the fact that it’s a long way away – this sounds like the most obvious point to raise but it is one few people really take on board.  The fact that you will be so far away from familiarity, family, friends and your established support network means that even though culturally speaking Australia is close to that which you are used, you will suffer home sickness and integration issues.  Be prepared to face these issues and you will get through any initial periods of ‘upset.’

Those who have heard about the new National Employment Standards that are coming into effect in 2010 need not worry that these will impact their ability to find employment once they have moved to Australia.  According to some unions in Australia the new standards are good for workers and employers, but generally the consensus of opinion is that they are more geared to making things easier and more flexible for employers.  Whatever your opinion is, the one thing that the NES certainly do not do is discriminate in any way between Australian and expatriate workers, therefore British expats looking for jobs in Australia need not be worried about the new standards when seeking employment.

What is worrying Britons contemplating a move down under is the fact that Australia has not escaped the credit crunch woes that the UK is just coming to terms with.  For example, borrowing costs in Australia have risen to the point at which analysts are saying they could affect growth for up to 2 years.  The chief executive of the Commonwealth Bank has just said that the effects of the credit crunch “would be felt for at least a year to come and could well play out into the middle of 2010” for example.

On top of this, lending activity has declined making it harder for newly arrived Britons to get a mortgage.  The real price of home loans has increased as well and this has come at the same time as fuel prices have risen, consumer spending has declined, business borrowing has been curtailed and domestic economic growth is being eroded.  But it is not all doom and gloom because the situation down under is relative to the situation in the UK and at least you have better weather in Australia!