Are you one of the many Australians in Ireland who believe that homeownership is out of the question just because you live abroad? If you are then you’re probably wrong.
The fact is that Australians in Ireland, or any Australian expatriates (expats) for that matter, can buy a home a property in Australia, that too at competitive interest rates and discounts.
How can I buy a property in Australia?
Buying a property can be difficult if you can’t provide the required documents to prove your income.
However, since you’re originally an Australian citizen living overseas, you’ll be assessed no different than an Aussie living down under.
How much can I borrow?
In most cases, Australians in Ireland, including Australian permanent residents, can borrow up to:
- 80% of the purchase price: You’ll be limited to borrowing up to this amount if you can’t provide sufficient documents as evidence of your income.
- 90% of the purchase price: You can borrow 90% Loan to Value Ratio (LVR) if you can provide full documents to support your income and are in a strong financial position.
Give us a call on 1300 889 743 (+61 2 9194 1700 if you’re overseas) or fill in our free online assessment form if you need help applying for a home loan in Australia.
How will my income be assessed?
Many Australian lenders don’t accept foreign currency when it comes to home loan applications from expats. This is one of the main obstacles that Australians in Ireland face.
However, the Euro is one of the most common currencies that Australian lenders deal with. This means that you have a good chance to get approved if you earn your income in Euros.
You can check the Australian Expat Mortgages page to find out which currencies are generally accepted by lenders in Australia.
Will I be liable for higher interest rates?
As you’re still considered an Australian citizen, you won’t be charged a higher interest rate. Lenders will generally treat you as a borrower living in Australia.
However, there are lenders that will consider you to be a foreigner. This can reduce your borrow power significantly.
This shouldn’t affect you if you apply with the right lender. You may even get approved for a significant interest rate discount.
How does the home loan process work?
Australians in Ireland qualify for the standard interest rate and discounts like a borrower living in Australia. Lenders will require you to provide only standard documents for the mortgage, provided that you meet all other lending criteria.
Home loans in Australia can be quite flexible and easy to manage once they’ve been set up. Generally, you can:
- Make unlimited additional repayments.
- Easily access/redraw the extra repayments you’ve made.
- Get flexible lending policies and fewer restrictions for borrowers living overseas.
What are the costs involved?
Lenders require you to have at least 5% of the property value to cover the many costs of buying a property in Australia. In particular, these costs can include:
- Conveyancing fees: These include the costs of hiring a conveyancer or solicitor to handle the transfer of the property in your name.
- Inspection fees: You may need to have your building inspected for damage or pests. A strata report may also be required if you’re purchasing an apartment. It’s recommended that you speak with your conveyancer or mortgage broker to confirm if they’re really required.
- Loan fees: You may be charged an application fee, settlement fee or valuation fee by the lender.
- Lenders Mortgage Insurance (LMI): Normally, if you’re borrowing over 80% LVR then you will be charged a mortgage insurance premium or LMI. This is paid as a security to the lenders in case you default on your home loan.
Government fees to consider
There are different government fees that you need to consider as well. These include:
- Stamp duty: It’s a tax levied by the government on all property purchases depending on the state the property is in. This is one of the largest expenses when buying a property but stamp duties waivers may be available for qualified applicants.
- Transfer fee: This fee covers the costs of registering your name and removing the owner’s name on the property title.
- Registration fees: You’ll be charged with the fee when you register your lender’s mortgage on the title of the property you purchased.
If you’re buying your first property in Australia then you may be eligible for a stamp duty waiver as well as other grants, such as the First Home Owners Grant (FHOG).
Find out if you’re eligible for any of these grants by completing our free online assessment form.
How are my Irish debts assessed?
Normally, Australian lenders will assess your Irish debts at Australian interest rates. This may mean that you’ll be assessed at a much higher rate that what you’re already paying.
If you’re currently renting then some lenders will take into account your rent payments when assessing your debts.
Providing your rental statements with your current debts can also help you lower any negative scoring from debts. This is because your rental statements can help prove your ability to cover the costs of the debts.
What do I have to look out for?
As a general rule, the Australian Taxation Office (ATO) will classify you as a non-resident for tax purposes, if you’ve lived outside of Australia for more than two years.
Note that Australian-sourced income (such as an investment property) and capital gains on Australian property can be taxable in Australia even for Australians in Ireland.
Speak with the tax office and your accountant about this since the ATO uses particular tests to work out whether you’re an Australian or a non-resident.
Will double taxation be an issue?
Australia and Ireland have a Double Taxation Agreement (DTA) in place which protects borrowers from paying their taxes twice. This agreement has been in force since 31 May 1983.
Under the agreement, you won’t incur capital gains tax (CGT) on any capital gain you may make when you sell a property in Australia. Also, you’ll generally be provided a foreign income tax offset on any tax paid on the same income or capital gain in Ireland.
Tax laws change on a regular basis. It’s recommended that you check the ATO website or the Irish Tax and Customs website for the latests updates on taxation. It’s also essential that you speak with your accountant before you buy a property in Australia.
Do I need the Australian government’s approval?
Usually, a Foreign Investment Review Board (FIRB) approval is only necessary if you’re a foreigner.
Australian citizens and permanent residents don’t require FIRB approval, even if they’re buying with a foreign spouse.
Am I restricted to buying only a new property?
Australians in Ireland are allowed to buy a new property, an existing property and even vacant land.
You may even be able to buy a commercial property if you apply with the right lender!
Are you looking to buy a property in Australia?
Simply, call us on 1300 889 743 (+61 2 9194 1700 from outside of Australia) and speak with one of our experienced mortgage brokers about your situation.
What if I’m a self-employed borrower?
Many Australians who move to Ireland and start their own businesses but face a difficult time when applying for a mortgage in Australia.
Self-employed workers living in Ireland can also have a tough time providing up-to-date documents to prove their income and expenses to the bank.
Fortunately, there are lenders that can give you an approval even if you don’t have any financials!
Our mortgage brokers are experts at finding low doc as well as no doc home loan solutions for Australians living in Ireland. They can help you find the right lender who will accept your situation from out of almost 40 lenders that we have relationships with.
All you need to do is to call us on 1300 889 743 (+61 2 9194 1700 if you’re overseas) or complete our free online assessment form and one of our brokers will get back to you with a suitable solution for your situation.