High-profile Australian property investor and author Michael Yardney warns New Zealanders they could be ripped off by Australian property marketers.
Some marketers are taking advantage of "many" investors turning to Australian property because they recognise the New Zealand market is in a slump. They are selling "off the plan" properties with extravagant capital growth promises of 20 or 30 per cent.
"Be wary of Australians bearing gifts," he cautions. "If it looks too good to be true it probably is."
Australians would not pay the price that New Zealanders being flown over are paying for off the plan and new properties, Yardney says. "They're paying too much and buying the wrong properties."
Not all real estate markets in Australia are doing well, Yardney says. "We've got a very two-tiered market: inner suburban, or close to the water is doing well; and a lot of the high-rise isn't, off the plan isn't, and outer suburbs are not doing as well."
He advises Kiwi investors planning to buy in Australia to choose established properties in the inner suburbs of Melbourne, Sydney and Brisbane - close to the water and CBD.
"Be cautious if you're going over there - the tax rules are different, the legal rules are different."
Yardney is talking to currently New Zealand property investor groups about strategies. "You're really early into what's probably going to be a three or four year slump," he says, but adds that the end of a boom doesn't necessarily mean a crash.
The "scary thing," Yardney says, is most current property investors haven't been in the market for more than four or five years, so they've never lived through a property cycle - they don't know what to expect.
He says interest rates will drop, "but when market sentiment has been knocked by a number of things, people won't instantly come back - it's a herd mentality".
Smart investors will invest counter-cyclically, but ensure they have a buffer to see them through difficult times.
"There's a huge oversupply of certain properties - you've got lots of apartments, developers have a lot of stock and houses aren't selling, so rents may not keep rising."
Yardney says people shouldn't get carried away by negativity - opportunities remain - and should stay positive.