With travel resuming and Australian expats looking to return home post-COVID, buying opportunities will most likely bloom.

If you’re an Australian expat returning home and looking to buy a property, this guide is for you.

Buying a property as an expat returning to Australia

Buying a home or an investment property as a returning expat can be different compared to buying from overseas.

The main difference centres around when you intend to apply for a home loan.

Most lenders won’t entertain applicants that have just arrived or are planning to arrive soon in Australia, as you will be perceived as high-risk borrowers.

How can I improve my chances of securing a loan?

After moving back to Australia, you will no longer be considered an expat.

However, that doesn’t necessarily improve all opportunities for you to secure a home loan.

Lenders will take into account:

  • The transition period for your job (either transfer or starting a new role)
  • Consistent income source
  • If you’re transferring jobs
  • If you’re on probation for a new role with prior experience
  • Or, if you’re starting a new role in a different industry with no prior experience

If you’re starting a new role in the same industry with prior experience, lenders will view your applications favourably only after you have completed a minimum of 3-6 months probationary period.

In contrast, lenders might view your application as high risk if you’re starting a position in a different line of work.

There’s a chance that lenders will accept your foreign savings as a deposit.

Most lenders will only view borrowers who have a consistent income source and are returning with a job transfer as low risk.

How can I prove my income?

If you are transferring jobs from a foreign company to its branch in Australia, chances are your salary will be evaluated in foreign currency.

This may also be the case if you’re still working for the foreign company while residing in Australia.

In such cases,

  • Lenders will assess the currency in which you’re earning your primary source of income.
  • Income shading may apply. Most lenders will use between 60% to 90% of your income for serviceability.
  • Only a few lenders will use foreign tax rates to assess your income.
  • The currency you’re earning may cause lenders to reduce the amount that you can borrow.

If you’re unsure about about the acceptability your foreign currency, have a look at the preferred currencies by lenders.

However, you’re most likely to be an Australian tax resident if you’ve already migrated to Australia.

In that case, lenders will view you as a standard eligible applicant.

What if I’m self employed?

There aren’t many options if you’re self-employed and have no tax returns to prove your income.

The majority of lenders require you to be self-employed for at least two to three years.

This can be an issue especially if you’ve recently moved to Australia before applying for a home loan.

However, a handful of lenders will consider people who have been self-employed for only one year.

Note: A low doc home loan is an option for self-employed applicants but lenders require at least 6 months ABN registration i.e. they should be in business for at least 6 months before considering a low-doc loan.

One of our specialist lenders might be able to help you by looking at your income from your last job as proof of affordability.

Please call us on 1300 889 743 (+61 2 9194 1700 from outside of Australia) or fill in our free assessment form to check with one of our mortgage brokers.

Do I need a deposit?

If you have genuine savings in your foreign bank account, you’ll have to transfer the funds to your Australian bank account.

After you’ve done that, you can use your savings as the deposit.

The lenders will assess your income normally once you apply for a home loan from Australia. This means that you will need around 5% to 10% deposit.

If you are looking to buy an investment property, you will need around 10% to 12% deposit.

However, you still have to verify your consistent income source.

Please note that the lender will also assess the source of your savings as part of the process. If all sources seem genuine, it shows them that you’re likely to be a good borrower.

What if I’m buying my first home?

The Australian federal and state governments have introduced several grants to help first home buyers purchase their first home.

If you’re eligible, you will receive the First Home Owners Grant (FHOG) and will also be exempt from stamp duty.

Will I pay a higher interest rate?

Big 4 can consider your probation income as long as you can provide at least 2 payslips.

Also, if you have a strong history of employment in the same industry, a few lenders in our panel might consider your application on a case by case basis.

The interest rates you pay will depend on the LVR (Loan-to-Value Ratio). The rates may be higher if you borrow at a higher LVR.

Getting a home loan with a foreign citizen

There are home loan options if you’re buying with a partner who has foreign citizenship or a valid visa for Australia.

Lenders accept de facto relationships, including same sex relationships.

  • Most lenders assess your application based on the time period you have been together.
  • It also depends on where your partner is residing or if they are moving to Australia with you.
  • If your partner is a temporary resident and is employed in Australia, some lenders in our panel will be able to help.
  • Interest rates can be higher.
  • If your partner is on the title as well, foreign stamp duty surcharge will apply.

One on title, two on loan?

You might be able to avoid the foreign stamp duty surcharge if an Australian citizen is on the title of the loan.

You will still be able to borrow with a foreign citizen or non-resident but your partner’s name won’t be on the title.

This is a complicated and high-risk loan, which means lenders only accept borrowers who are in a spousal or de-facto relationship.

For more information about the lending criteria, refer to our one on title, two on loan page.

Which lender can help me?

Australian expats returning home may struggle to meet the requirements to get their loan approved.

As only a few specialist lenders consider such cases, you might want to choose your lender carefully.

Our experienced mortgage brokers can help you find the right lender.

Apply for a home loan today

Our mortgage brokers are updated with lender rates and policies.

They can get your application approved the first time around.

If you’re planning to return to Australia or have returned recently, we can help!

Call us on 1300 889 743 (+61 2 9194 1700 from outside of Australia) or enquire online to discover the best options for you.