How much can you borrow?
- Borrow up to 90% of the property value as an Australian citizen or permanents resident (PR) living in the United States.
- You can qualify for the same interest rates as an Australian citizen.
- Some lenders will use the US tax rate, as opposed to Australian tax rates, which can greatly improve your borrowing power.
- Self-employed borrowers may be able to borrow up to 80% of the property value with one of our lenders and we have at least one that will use 90% of your net income rather than gross income.
- 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 US citizen, some lenders may treat you as a foreigner which means that choosing a lender that favours expats is essential to getting approved.
- If you’re earning US Dollars 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 up to 80% of the property value.
- A Power Of Attorney (POA) in the name of a solicitor or family member is required by some banks.
Speak to one of our mortgage brokers by calling 1300 889 743 (+61 2 9194 1700 from outside of Australia) or completing our free assessment form today.
Are you actually an Australian expat?
Australian expatriates (expats) are essentially non-resident Australian citizens and they are permitted to buy property in Australia even if they live in the United States.
Around 2,000 – 3,000 migrate to the US every year via the US government’s E-3 visa. This visa was introduced after the Australia-United States Free Trade Agreement (AUSFTA) was established in 2005.
Many Australian expats residing in the US choose to buy property back home to take advantage of the exchange rate and the rising Australian property market, which far outstrips the United States.
Where can Australian expats learn more about the Australian property market?
If you’ve been out of the country for a while and aren’t sure how the Australian market is looking right now, check out these websites for real estate listings, useful investor tools and information:
Will the bank accept US dollars?
Did you know that Australian expats earning US dollars (USD) are one of the most common types of non-resident applicants that Australian lenders assess?
If you earn your income in USD, there is a good chance that we can get you approved for an Australian mortgage!
Check out the Australian Expat Mortgages for other types of currency that lenders will either accept or consider.
How will the bank assess my US income?
When assessing your home loan application, most lenders will assess your income as if you were residing in Australia.
Australian expats will just need to provide:
The best part is that since these financial statements are in English, it’ll make the lender’s job a lot easier meaning a higher chance of approval.
What if I’m a contractor?
Thousands of Australians migrate to the US to apply their skills, knowledge and experience in a variety of fields including engineering, information technology (IT) and science. As a result, many find contract job opportunities with major firms and businesses.
Since you’re not permanent full time, can an Australian expatriate still qualify for a mortgage in Australia? Yes!
Generally speaking, Australian expats working as contractors will be asked to show evidence of their current income and future employment prospects with a letter from their employer.
To make it easier for yourself, you can provide your US employer with this template that most Australian banks will accept. If you can also provide payslips and tax returns with your application it will help our mortgage brokers build a strong case with a wider range of lenders.
Complete our free assessment form and explain your situation so we can help you get a approved for a home loan as an Australian expat.
Can I get the same interest rates as an Australian citizen?
Yes, Australians living in the US can get the same interest rates as Australian residents.
Some lenders may not offer you the same interest discounts but we’re often in a strong position to negotiate a discount that’s way below the Bank Standard Variable (BSV) rate.
The only exception in qualifying for a low interest rate is if you can’t prove your foreign income.
Are you restricted to buying a new property?
Australians living in the US can actually buy a new property, an existing property or vacant land.
In addition to this, you can live in the property or it can be for investment purposes.
The same rule applies if you’re a permanent resident residing in the United States: you’ll be treated the same as if you were living and working in Australia!
Do you need government approval?
Foreign Investment Review Board (FIRB) approval isn’t required, even if you’re buying with a spouse who isn’t an Australian citizen or you’re a permanent resident.
It also doesn’t apply if you’re buying with a US citizen or another foreign citizen.
This will save you significant fees and charges.
Do I have to pay a stamp duty surcharge?
Several states in Australia have introduced a stamp duty surcharge but this only applies to foreign citizens and not Australians living and working in the US.
In saying that, Australian permanent residents (PR) or Australian citizens buying with a US citizen may be hit with the surcharge.
The rules around this may vary so it’s always best to double with your relevant state revenue office. We have more information around this on the foreign citizen stamp duty page.
How will I be taxed?
Did you know that you may still be treated as a non-resident for Australian tax purposes even though you’re simply one of many Australians living in the US. It’s true!
Even though we may be able to get Australians living in the US get approved for a mortgage, it’s a different story with tax law Down Under.
It’s essential you speak to your accountant before you make the decision to buy or invest in property in Australia.
There a number of tests that the Australian Taxation Office (ATO) undertake to work out if you’re an Australian resident or a non-resident for tax purposes. This includes whether you’ve been physically living in Australia for more than half of the financial year and if your ‘domicile’ remains in Australia and you don’t have a permanent residence overseas.
Commonwealth Government employees who work overseas such as government diplomats and armed forces personnel are also a member of the Commonwealth Superannuation scheme so they will likely be taxed as a resident of Australia.
Generally speaking, income and capital gains that Australian residents (for tax purposes) earn anywhere in the world is subject to Australian tax law. For expats considered to be non-residents for tax purposes, your Australian-sourced income and capital gains on Australian property are taxable in Australia.
Doesn’t the US and Australia have a Double Taxation Agreement (DTA) in place?
Yes, which means that you won’t incur capital gains tax (CGT) in the US for any capital gain you make on a property you sell in Australia. Under the treaty, the ATO will also generally provide a foreign income tax offset on any US tax paid on the same income or capital gain.
Disclaimer: The above information is to be taken as general tax information only and does not constitute financial advice. Australian and international tax law is subject to change so you should speak to a financial professional before making any financial decision including the purchase of property in Australia.
Can I buy a commercial property?
Because Australian living in the US are in fact Australian citizens, you can actually buy commercial property as long as you meet all other lending requirements.
Some popular commercial properties that Australian expats living in the US consider purchasing include:
We’re specialists in mortgages for Australians living in the US!
Many of our customers are Australian citizens or dual citizens living in the US who want to invest in the Australian property market.
We will choose the right lender the first time around so you can avoid the headache of getting knocked back and having an unnecessary credit enquiry listed on your credit file. This can potentially prevent you building an investment portfolio with Australian real estate in the future.
Most of our services are free and we have almost 40 lenders to choose from including major Australian banks and lenders. Once we know we can get you approved with a few lenders, we’re in a position to negotiate significant mortgage discounts on your behalf.
Please call 1300 889 743 (+61 2 9194 1700 from outside of Australia) or complete our free assessment form to speak with one of our experienced mortgage brokers.