Last Updated: 30th April, 2024

How much can I borrow?

Did you know that some banks treat Australian expats living in Japan the same as they would an Australian resident?

  • Australian citizens or permanent residents living and working in Japan can generally borrow up to 80% of the property value.
  • You can qualify for the same interest rates as an Australian citizen and we even know lenders that will apply the Japanese tax rate when assessing your income which improves your borrowing power.
  • Some lenders will use the tax rate of Japan, as opposed to Australian tax rates, which can greatly improve your borrowing power.
  • If you’re earning Japanese Yen but you can’t provide sufficient documents to prove your foreign income, such as recent payslips, or tax returns, then you may be limited to borrowing less than 80% of the property value.
  • Loans available for purchase, refinance, investment property or to buy a house and land package.
  • If you’re a dual citizenship holder or you’re married to a foreign national, some lenders may unfairly treat you as a foreigner so choosing a lender that favours expats is essential to borrowing at the maximum Loan to Value Ratio (LVR).
  • A Power Of Attorney (POA) in the name of a solicitor or family member is required by some banks.

Use the How Much Can I Borrow Calculator, enter your financial details and discover how much you can borrow.

Give us a call on 1300 889 743 (+61 2 9194 1700 from outside of Australia) or complete our free assessment form and one of our experienced mortgage brokers will contact you to help you find a suitable mortgage deal for you.

What documents do banks need?

If you’re an Australian expat living in Japan, then you’ll need the same documents as a borrower applying for home loan in Australia including:

  • Your two most recent payslips (payslips must meet certain standards such as being less than a month old).
  • Your tax returns for the last two years.

Some lenders may accept a letter from your employer as alternative proof of your income as long as you’re borrowing less than 80% of the property value.

Foreign income mortgage calculator

Discover if the bank will accept your foreign income.

Disclaimer: This calculator has several assumptions and simplifications and so should be used as a guide only. Please seek independent financial advice and consider your own circumstances before making any decisions related to home loans.

What do banks think of Japanese Yen?

Japan is one of Australia’s biggest trading partners and with the Japan Australia Economic Partnership (JAEPA) coming into effect from 2015, most banks readily accept Japanese Yen (JPY) for a mortgage.

Other currencies commonly accepted by Australian banks are US Dollars (USD), Great Pound Sterling (GBP) and Euros. This is great news if you’re a tradesman or another type of professional working for a multinational that pays in currency other than Japanese Yen.

If you’re earning in any other currency, refer to the acceptable list of currencies on the Australian Expat Mortgages page.

Will I pay a higher interest rate?

No! You won’t pay a higher interest for an Australian mortgage just because you’re in Japan.

We can even help you find a lender that will agree to give you a substantial discount below standard bank rates.

There’s more!

Australian expats living in Japan can access all of the same home loan features as a normal Australian resident such as redraw, the ability to make extra repayments, an offset account, and a line of credit.

Our mortgage brokers are here to help you choose a package that will allow to best manage your mortgage.

If you aren’t sure which loan features you need, or need more information about other loan features not mentioned here, then please contact us on 1300 889 743 (+61 2 9194 1700 from outside of Australia) or complete our free assessment form.

Are there any extra costs to buying a home in Australia?

If you’ve never owned a home in Australia or you’ve been living in Japan for a number of years, you may surprised to know that there are other costs to buying a home other than saving a deposit.

So yes, as a general rule you need at least 5% of the property value in genuine savings, which is typically a deposit in your savings account that you’ve saved over a period of 3 months.

However, there are also additional expenses such as stamp duty, conveyancing fees and mortgage registration fees.

Another cost to keep in mind is Lenders Mortgage Insurance (LMI), a premium charged to borrowers when borrowing more than 80% of the property value.

This insurance protects the bank in case you default on your mortgage: it’s not the same as mortgage protection insurance.

Even if you borrow 80% of the property value, a few lenders might charge LMI depending on their policies.

The above costs amount to about another 5% of the property value so, all up, you’re looking at a 10% deposit to settle your home loan and buy the property.

What if I’m an expat and I don’t have a deposit?

If you don’t have enough deposit, you can look into applying for a guarantor loan. This loan allows you to borrow up to 100% of the property plus extra costs mentioned above.

Please complete our free assessment form to find out if you qualify for a guarantor loan or check out the no deposit home loans page to work out which no deposit solution may work best for you.

Am I restricted to buying new property?

Unlike foreign investors and other non-residents, Australians expats living in Japan are not restricted from buying a new home, an owner-occupied home or a commercial property.

Some of the most popular commercial properties that expats buy are petrol stations, hotels, pubs and bars, factories, and warehouses.

You can even buy vacant land and build a property yourself. You’ll need a construction loan for this.

How will I be taxed?

In 2009, an agreement was signed between Japan and Australia to curb a problem that many overseas investors face: double taxation.

Under the tax treaty, a property will only be taxed by the country in which the property is located. This means that if you own a property in Australia, you’ll only have to pay tax to the Australian government, not the Japanese tax office.

Since you’ll be lodging income tax returns in Australia, you can also claim negative gearing benefits on an investment property you own.

Refer to the official websites of Australian Taxation Office (ATO) and National Tax Agency Japan for more information.

Disclaimer: The above information is general information and should be constituted as tax advice. We highly recommend that you speak to an accountant or a tax adviser before you decide on buying a property in Australia.

Do I need government approval?

Foreign Investment Review Board (FIRB) assesses applications from foreigners who would like to invest or buy a home in Australia.

However, if you’re an Australian expat living in Japan, you’re still an Australian citizen which means you don’t require FIRB approval. The same goes if you’re borrowing with a non-Australian spouse.

Refer to these FIRB guidelines for more information.

In addition to this, Australian citizens living in Japan can avoid the foreigner stamp duty surcharge that applies to most Australian states and territories because they’re not foreigners in the traditional sense.

Be careful!

If you’re married or de facto with someone who is a non-Australian, you should consider buying the property in your name, otherwise, you may still be slugged with the surcharge.

If you are an Australian PR holder living outside of Australia, the rules vary between states so it’s best that you and your partner contact the relevant state government.

Case study: Expat home loans


Meet James, an Aussie expat living and working in Japan.

He worked for a premier financial services firm and earned a base income of JPY 711,000 plus a yearly cash allowance of JPY 352,000.


To purchase an investment property in Queensland and build his property portfolio.


First, he needed a lender that is well equipped to deal with Japanese income tax statements.

Secondly, since Japan is largely a cash-based economy, all his living expenses were paid in cash. As such, verification of his expenses became difficult.

Above all else, he needed an expat lender that can accept 100% of his base income as well as his cash allowances as most lenders only use between 60%-90% of the foreign income to account for exchange rate fluctuations.


First, an authorised translator was organised to translate the Japanese income tax statements. They’re also known as an interpreter’s certificate.

Secondly, since the monthly living expenses couldn’t be verified via bank statements, our brokers got the lender to accept a signed ‘Living Expenses Sheet’ declaring the cash spend.

Most importantly, a couple of expat lenders who could consider 100% of both base and cash allowances income were identified to maximise James’ borrowing power since they formed a large part of his yearly income.

As everything was run past the lender before submission, the loan was approved promptly.

Getting a home loan as an expat doesn’t have to difficult if you have experts on your side.

Why use Home Loan Experts?

Unlike other Australian mortgage brokers, at Home Loan Experts (HLE), we’re specialists in getting home loans approved for Australian expats living in Japan.

We are accredited with over 50 lenders including the major four banks and Australia’s top lenders.

We can quickly find you the right home loan for situation and, in most cases, at a competitive interest rate!

If you’re an Australian living in Japan and looking for a home loan, we can help!

Please give us a call on 1300 889 743 during business hours (+61 2 9194 1700 from outside of Australia) or complete our free assessment form, and one of our experienced mortgage brokers will contact you with a list of suitable solutions for your situation.