Australian real estate has been popular with British expats and investors for a long time: many like to move here, either temporarily or permanently. At the moment, Australia is also one of the safest property markets in the world.
When applying for a mortgage in Australia, citizens and permanent residents of the UK are treated just like other foreign citizens or temporary residents. This is unless you are the spouse or partner of an Australian citizen or permanent resident, and are buying a property together as “joint tenants”.
This is not to be confused with “tenants in common”, as this is a different legal status of property ownership.
As a foreigner, you will need to apply for Australian government approval. Once you have this, purchasing either residential or investment properties is possible. However, restrictions apply for foreigners who become temporary residents.
If you would like to know how these restrictions on Australian mortgages will apply to you, call us on 1300 889 743 (if outside Australia call +61 2 9194 1700) or enquire online.
Do specific visas affect the loan application?
When applying for an Australian mortgage there are many types of visas accepted by banks and lenders. The most common types are the 457 Temporary business (long stay) visa and different types of spouse visas.
If you are buying an investment property from the United Kingdom (UK) then you do not need a visa to qualify for a mortgage.
Do UK residents need to apply for FIRB approval?
Citizens of the United Kingdom need to apply for approval from the Foreign Investment Review Board (FIRB).
This Australian government body determines the level of foreign investment and ownership of property and other investments in Australia.
Are you eligible for the First Home Buyers Grant (FHOG)?
As a temporary resident or foreign citizen you are not eligible to apply for the FHOG.
If your spouse or partner is an Australian citizen or permanent resident, and you purchase the property together as ‘joint tenants’, you may quality for the FHOG.
In the UK, this grant does not exist but public sector equity sharing, known as HomeBuy, does. The scheme, called FirstBuy for first time buyers, helps customers find the difference between their deposit and the percentage value of the property they are borrowing. This is a tax subsidy and is only available on select new home builds.
How much are you able to borrow?
Under certain conditions, you can borrow up to 95% of the value of the property you are purchasing (95% LVR). However, most mortgage applications from residents of the UK are restricted to 80% or 90% of the value of the property.
This is known as the Loan to Value Ratio (LVR), or, the percentage of the property value that you are borrowing. In Britain, LVR is known as LTV.
What are the interest rates?
We can help you to qualify for the same discounted interest rates as Australian citizens. It’s all about applying with the right lender.
Are Buy To Let Mortgages available?
Yes, they are. In Australia, a Buy To Let Mortgage is known as an Investment Loan.
Foreign investors from the UK are usually able to borrow up to 80% of the property value.
If your partner is an Australian citizen or permanent resident then you can borrow more. Borrowing above 80% LVR, it is important to remember that you may need to pay Lenders Mortgage Insurance (LMI).
What catches out UK investors?
Many investors are self employed which means they have complex financial situations and may have difficulty proving their income.
Some Australian lenders do not lend to overseas investors who are self employed. Don’t worry: we know some that do!
Transferring large sums of money for the deposit can also be a hassle. There are specialist finance companies that can help you to move your deposit to Australia for a fraction of the cost charged by the banks. It pays to shop around.
Lastly, you need to manage your exchange rate risk. This isn’t too much of a problem as the rent will cover the majority of the interest and other expenses associated with your property. However, you should allow a healthy buffer just in case the Australian dollar rises sharply. That’s not such a bad thing: it means your property has gone up in value relative to your UK assets.
Are fixed rates available?
When borrowing in Australia, you can fix your interest rates for up to five years with most lenders and up to fifteen years with a couple of banks. In the UK, this can typically be for a minimum of two years and maximum of ten.
For both countries, unlike the US, variable rates are most commonly sought after by customers.
Can I remortgage my Australian property?
In Australia, remortgaging is known as refinancing or an equity release. You can remortgage your property with a new lender and increase your loan to allow you to buy more investment properties or to send your profits to the UK.
Apply for an Australian mortgage today!
Are planning on investing in Australian real estate? Our buyers guide can help explain the buying process including what professionals you may need to assist you.
For more information and to apply for a loan, contact us today! You can call 1300 889 743 (if outside Australia, call +61 2 9194 1700), or enquire online and one of our non-resident mortgage specialists will contact you.