Moving back to Australia, New Zealand or South Africa is a mighty task that can be made
easier if you choose the right time to return. Before you pack your
bags for home, it’s a good idea to know if the weather, and job and
housing markets on the flipside will be in your favour. Here are some
guidelines:

The festive move

Typically, most of us time our return home for the end of the year,
which is the best way to catch up with family and friends who are in
festive spirits, and the weather is amenable for sunshine and
barbecues.

If you’re fortunate to have some cash in the back pocket, you can
use December and January to re-acquaint yourself with home and find
accommodation, then turn your attention to job hunting towards the end
of January.

Job market buoyancy

If you’re a teacher do the leg work before you indulge in the
festivities back home as recruiting takes place at the end of the
calendar year, says Caroline Rafferty of Trackmeback.com.

She adds: “Between March and October is typically when it’s easiest
to find work in Australia and New Zealand as the contract, accounting,
tax and finance markets are particularly buoyant towards the end of the
financial year.”

Jobs in financial services, health, fast-moving consumer goods and
IT are available year-round, but if you work in the mining, engineering
and energy industries, keep your eyes on news from home as recruitment
is based on major projects.

Buying a house in Australia

Seasonal variation in house prices needs little consideration since Australia is blessed with mild winters and warm springs.

“A decade ago, we would see very sparse listing volumes during
winter months then a surge in spring, but with the advent of the
internet, we are seeing
a more consistent spread of listings throughout the year,” says Rich Harvey, CEO of Propertybuyer.com.au.

Keep in mind that the last two weeks of December and the first three
weeks of January (during summer school holidays) are when the real
estate industry closes. With Australia predicted to be short of some
400,000 dwellings by 2015, Harvey advises getting in early to enjoy
strong capital growth.

“Christmas and Easter are the two times of the year when vendors are
more motivated to sell than any other, as they just want to put a deal
together before they go on an extended holiday,” says Harvey.

Property in New Zealand

With a more seasonal climate, the depths of winter are the best time
to buy property in New Zealand, where spring usually sees a resurgence
of buyer interest and it becomes a seller’s market.

The forecast suggests house prices will drop throughout 2010 and
into 2011 by as much as 12 per cent. But with the stock of quality
homes in good locations considered proportionally low, thus making
prices reliant on location, it pays to do your research.

Flights of fancy

Flights are going to take a sizeable chunk out of your returning
home budget. But there are great deals to be found out of season, in
May, June and April (outside of the Easter holidays) when you can snag
a seat for around £500 – half the premium prices for flights to
Australia and New Zealand in December, January and February. There is
much to consider in the big move back, but if you just establish your
priorities, you’re already halfway there.