Why invest in property in Australia?

Investing in Australian property has become popular with overseas investors and Australian expats looking for strong returns and stability.

Stability

Australia’s property market has a proven record of stable prices.

What’s the big difference between Australia and other property markets?

  • Around 70% of Australian households are home owners so there is relatively little speculation.
  • There’s been a consistent under-supply of housing in most capital cities.
  • Australia has responsible lending legislation and prudent economic management via the Australian Prudential Regulation Authority (APRA), reducing the risk of asset price bubbles.
  • Australia has never had prices fall more than 20% in one year.

Overseas property markets such as Hong Kong or the USA have suffered significant crashes that are completely unheard of in Australia.

Housing prices in volatile economies can drop up to 70% within a few weeks, leaving investors with huge losses.

This is often because of significant speculation from foreign investors or asset price bubbles fueled by debt.

Investors have a smaller impact in Australia as the majority of the housing market is owner occupied.

In fact, during the 2007/09 Global Financial Crisis which saw property prices in the UK and USA fall significantly, Australian property prices actually increased in value.

Consistent growth performance

Australian properties have enjoyed consistent capital growth over the last 100 years, with property prices doubling roughly every 7 to 10 years.

One of the reasons behind the growth is Australia’s chronic housing shortage in many of the major cities.

The population is growing at a rate much faster than dwellings are being constructed.

The main cap on housing prices is in fact affordability.

Prices have largely risen in line with the market’s ability to pay for housing.

It’s easy to invest in Australia

Many countries have very restrictive foreign investment laws or banking regulations that make it difficult to invest.

This isn’t the case in Australia:

  • You don’t need to setup a company in Australia or buy with a citizen.
  • Government approval for foreign investors is simple and inexpensive. Read about the rules below.
  • Specialist mortgage brokers can assist you to obtain finance.
  • There’s strong and effective consumer protection legislation in Australia through the National Consumer Credit Protection Act 2009 (NCCP Act)
  • Australia’s legal system is based on the UK system so it’s familiar to many investors.
  • There’s minimal political, social, economic or national security instability in Australia.

Buying property in Australia from countries like China, the UK or USA can be difficult if you don’t have the right information or you don’t have the right professionals on your team.

These professionals include a real estate agent or buyers agent, a solcitor, an accountant and a mortgage broker that specialises in foreigner mortgages.

Complete our free assessment form or call us on 1300 889 743 and one of our mortgage brokers will contact you to let you know if you qualify for a mortgage.

Non-resident lending has changed quite a lot in recent times and can even be impossible if you’re a foreign citizen as opposed to an expat or a temporary resident living in Australia.

Australia is a great place to live

Australia is well known for its diverse international cities and breathtaking natural beauty.

  • Queensland (QLD) is famous for its wonderful beaches and reefs
  • Victoria (VIC) has a stunning coast line stretching to South Australia (SA)
  • The Northern Territory (NT) is renowned for its distinctive outback experience
  • New South Wales (NSW) for the tranquil Blue Mountains, beautiful coast and Sydney

Over the next 50 years it’s expected that the trend of migration to Australia will continue and property prices will rise as a result.

Investors can buy residential or commercial properties?

Stability and growth aren’t just features of residential houses, townhouses and units.

Most commercial properties such as offices, factories and retail outlets have proven themselves to have excellent returns.

Larger foreign investors tend to prefer hotels, pubs, commercial farms and residential and commercial developments.

Do you need help with getting a foreigner mortage?

Thinking of investing in Australia?

Call us on 1300 889 743 (+61 2 9194 1700 from outside of Australia) or complete our free assessment form to speak to our specialist mortgage brokers.

They can guide you through the application process.

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The buying process

Before you begin – budgeting & planning

It’s essential that you research, plan and budget your property purchase in Australia.

You may have a location in mind, but it’s always helpful to speak to a real estate agent who can offer you some local advice that will help you select an affordable area with great returns.

Making sure that you can afford the property is also important. Australian banks won’t lend to you if you can’t prove that you can afford the debt, so you need to have a realistic and affordable budget in place.

Step 1 – Organise your team of professionals

Conveyancer

You’ll need a conveyancer or a solicitor to take care of the legal work for you. Their job is to complete searches on the property, manage the transfer of ownership and review the contract before you sign it.

Keep in mind that your appointed conveyancer must be in the same state as the property you’re buying or at least be licensed to deal with that state.

For Western Australia (WA), they are called settlement agents.

Please view our list of recommended conveyancers if you don’t have one already.

It’s common for a real estate agent to recommend a conveyancer to you but we suggest that you choose one that is likely to be impartial.

Mortgage Broker

A good Australian mortgage broker, with experience in helping non-residents to apply for a mortgage, is an essential member of your team of experts.

The mortgage broker can be anywhere in Australia, they don’t need to see the property you are buying and, for most residential mortgages and loans, their services are free.

If you want to buy a property in Australia, speak to an expert Australian mortgage broker.

We’re specialists in non-resident mortgages, hold an Australian Credit Licence (ACL) and are also a member of both the Mortgage and Finance Association of Australia (MFAA) and the Australian Financial Complaints Authority (AFCA).

We can finance properties Australia-wide and we regularly work with international borrowers.

We have a panel of nearly 40 lenders to choose from which ensures that you’re getting the best mortgage available.

If you need finance to purchase property in Australia, call us on 1300 889 743 (+61 2 9194 1700 from outside Australia) or complete our free assessment form to discuss your options.

Accountant (if required)

You don’t need to appoint an accountant but there are a few benefits in having one.

Your accountant can help you structure your financials and save you money on tax because they are on Australian tax legislation.

If you’d like to set up Australian companies or trusts to hold your investment, then you’ll need an accountant.

Your appointed accountant can be located anywhere in Australia.

Buyer’s agent (if required)

A buyers agent is also very useful if you’re located overseas and can’t physically inspect the property you’re buying.

The main job of a buyer’s agent is to source the property and negotiate a great deal on your behalf.

They’ll deal with the real estate agents for you and ensure that the property you’re buying represents a good opportunity.

Your buyer’s agent must be licensed and have some presence in the state that you’re buying a property in.

Keep in mind that a buyer’s agent should give independent and objective advice: they shouldn’t be selling his/her own properties.

Some buyer’s agents will charge a fixed fee, while some other will charge an upfront fee as well as a percentage of the purchase price of the property.

A true buyers agent will not earn any commission from the seller so, if they are, they are working for the seller and not for you!

We can put you in touch with some reputable buyers agents if you need assistance.

Step 2 – Applying for a mortgage

In order to qualify for a mortgage, it’s essential that you obtain a pre-approval before you begin looking for properties.

However, the lending criteria for non-residents can be very complex and, for foreign investors at least, there are less than a handful of lenders who are lending in this space.

  • We have published a handy guide which shows the best available Australian interest rates for foreign investors.
  • Ensure that you prepare all necessary loan documents, such as payslips, tax returns and even an employment letter to prove your income.

You can find specific lending guidelines for your situation here:

To ensure that you get approved, speak to us on 1300 889 743 (+61 2 9194 1700 from outside of Australia) or complete our free assessment form and one of our brokers will get back to you.

We offer free assistance and can help you with your home loan application.

Step 3 – Get your loan pre-approved

It’s essential for you to get your mortgage pre-approved before you begin looking for a property.

Good properties don’t stay on the market long!

The buyer with a pre-approval usually snaps up the best investments while the others are still putting their mortgage applications together.

More importantly, you know that you’re eligible for a loan and how much you can borrow.

Why waste your time looking for a house or unit only to find out that you can’t get a loan?

Confirm you qualify with the FIRB

If you’re a non-resident or a temporary visa holder, you’re legally required to get permission from the Foreign Investment Review Board (FIRB) to buy property in Australia.

Australian citizens, Australian permanent residents and New Zealand (NZ) citizens don’t require FIRB approval.

Getting FIRB approval is a simple process and usually takes up to two weeks from the date the application is lodged.

Fees can vary depending on the value of the residential property or land that you want to purchase:

  • $1 million or less: $5,000
  • $1 million to $1,999,999: $10,000
  • $2 million to $2,999,999: $20,000
  • $3 million or more: $10,000 per every $1 million
  • Agricultural land: You must notify FIRB when purchasing farmland worth $15 million or more so the fees can be substantial.

You won’t actually need to apply for FIRB approval until you’ve found a property.

However, you should investigate their requirements so that you don’t buy an ineligible property for foreign investors.

Step 5 – Find a property

Now is the time to visit Australia and begin your search for a property.

The other option is to use a buyer’s agent (see above).

If you decided not to use a buyer’s agent, then it may be a good idea to use comparable sales to value the property.

Make sure that you compare your properties to other properties that have sold outside of the development so you get a more accurate value.

Often the bank chosen by your mortgage broker will value the property.

The problem is that the banks often don’t tell you if the valuation comes in short!

Our mortgage brokers will always inform you if they become aware that you have overpaid for a property.

Step 6 – Negotiate the purchase price

As a general rule, Australian properties usually sell for up to 10% less than the listed price.

This varies depending on the market, location and type of property.

Properties in popular suburbs sometimes sell for more than the price that they’re advertised!

Some real estate websites will publish the “discounting percentage” for particular suburbs, which is the average percentage below the listing price that a property sells for.

If you’re using a buyer’s agent, they’ll help you to negotiate the price.

You can ask for a contract before signing and ask your solicitor or conveyancer to look at the contract and add any additional conditions if necessary.

A common condition is that the sale is “subject to FIRB approval” which allows you to cancel the contract in the unlikely event that you don’t get approval from the Australian government.

Each state of Australia has their own property laws, use your conveyancer or solicitor’s expertise to help guide you.

If the vendor allows a cooling off period, you can put a holding deposit and sign the contract.

Refer to your conveyancer or solicitor, they’ll let you know what checks you have to do before buying and will let you know when it’s safe to sign the contract to buy the property.

If you’re unable to get a loan during the cooling off period, your maximum penalty is the holding deposit, usually up to $1000.

Again, please check with your conveyancer or solicitor as this can vary across the different states.

If you plan to sign the contract prior to the cooling off period, ensure that the contract of sale includes the clause “subject to FIRB approval”, otherwise you’ll be breaching the law.

Step 7 – Obtain formal mortgage approval

When you’ve found a property to buy, you can then forward the contract of sale to us as your mortgage broker to proceed with the formal approval.

Remember, don’t commit yourself to buy a property until your mortgage is formally approved.

If there’s a cooling off period it’s okay to sign the contract, otherwise don’t sign the contract until you know that you can get a mortgage.

Once you forward the contract of sale to us, we’ll usually obtain the formal approval within a week.

Step 8 – Exchange contracts and pay your deposit

You can exchange your contract after your loan has been formally approved and your solicitor or conveyancer gives you the go ahead.

Normally, you’ll need to put down a 10% deposit.

The amount of the deposit is negotiable and differs between the states.

Note that once you’ve committed to a property, you can’t back out so please seek legal advice before signing any contracts or paying your deposit.

Step 9 – Seek FIRB approval

It’s very important that the contract you’re signing has the clause “subject to FIRB approval” and 30 days must be allowed for a FIRB decision.

At this point, it’s vital to check with your conveyancer or solicitor that the clause is stated in such a way so as to ensure that if your FIRB proposal is rejected, you won’t lose your deposit.

A FIRB application is simple to do and will usually be taken care of by your conveyancer.

You may need to provide a copy of the approval to your lender prior to your loan being advanced.

Step 10 – Final Arrangements

Once you have exchanged the contract, forward a copy of the signed contract to the FIRB for approval.

Your bank would have sent out the loan contract to you after formal approval.

You can ask your mortgage broker to go over it with you, or get help from your conveyancer or solicitor.

You have the right to obtain independent legal advice about your loan contract.

To accept the loan offer, sign the appropriate sections and return the loan documents back to the bank.

Do a final inspection on your property the day of settlement. This can be completed by your buyers agent if you’ve hired one.

Step 11 – Settlement

“Settlement” is the term used when the property actually changes hands and your loan is advanced.

This will be handled by your conveyancer or solicitor in conjunction with your bank and mortgage broker so you don’t need to be there for this to happen.

The title for the property is held by your lender for safe keeping and the keys are available for pick up from the selling real estate agent.


FAQ

What are the costs of buying a property?

As a general rule, you should allow roughly 5% of the purchase price for various expenses associated with purchasing a property.

Expenses:

  • Legal fees – Often $800 to $2,000.
  • Loan establishment fees – Usually $0 to $895 depending on the lender.
  • Stamp duty (state government taxes, often this is the largest expense) – Please refer to our Stamp Duty calculator
  • Additional stamp duty – Please see the foreign citizen stamp duty page for more information about changes made to stamp duty and land tax for foreign buyers buying in Queensland, New South Wales and Victoria. These changes aren’t taken into account by our calculator.
  • FIRB approval fees – Varies depending on the value of your property and if you are a temporary resident or foreign citizen investor with no visa to Australia.
  • Property inspection fees – normally up to $800 in total for a building, pest and strata inspection.
  • Buyers agents fee – Varies depending on the nature of the services provided.
  • Other minor costs – Building insurance, council rates, water rates, adjustments, etc.

Refer to your conveyancer or solicitor for an exact breakdown of the costs associated with your real estate purchase.

Why was the stamp duty levy introduced?

When introducing the foreigner stamp duty levy, the Victorian, New South Wales and Queensland governments said that it was only fair that foreign investors pay their fair share to fund government services and infrasture.

Luckily, the levy only applies to NSW, Vic and QLD.

You can avoid the extra stamp duty by either buying in another state, purchasing as joint tenants with an Australian citizen or simply waiting until you become a permanent resident.

What other rules and taxes apply to foreign buyers

Since the stamp duty levy was introduced in 2016, the Government has worked to put pressure on foreign ownership of Australian real estate.

Below are changes to foreign property ownership that the Government proposed in the Federal Budget 2017.

CGT exmption scrapped

Since 1 July 2016, foreign investors were subject to a Capital Gains Tax (CGT) (withholding tax) of 10% when they sold their own residential home. However, this only applied to properties worth $2 million or more.

From 1 July 2017. this threshold reduced to $750,000 and the withhold tax rate increased to 12.5%.

This change will affect many foreign investors buying in Sydney and Melbourne metro areas since the median house price is much higher than $750,000.

Restriction on new developments

The Government placed a 50% cap on foreign ownership of new developments.

Ghost tax

The so-called ghost tax is a minimum $5,000 per year levy for property they either faily to occupy or lease out for at least 6 months of the year.

How do I manage the property?

If you’re buying the property as an investment and are intending to rent out your property, you have two options.

You can either manage the property yourself, or you can use a property manager.

Professional managing agents will look after every aspect of your tenancy.

Their job includes collecting the rent, maintaining financial records, conducting regular property inspections, handling any disputes and arranging all repairs that need to be done.

Most property managers charge a percentage of the weekly rent as management fee, usually around 5-10%, although this is negotiable.

You should also expect to pay additional one off fees when they find a new tenant.

Last but not least, please make sure that the managing agent you are interested in using is licensed by the Office of Fair Trading (or state equivalent) before you enter into any formal agreement.

Their licence will be displayed in their office or on their website.

Do I need to lodge a tax return in Australia?

Yes, you’ll need to lodge a tax return each year in Australia.

This isn’t too difficult to do.

Your property manager should keep all of the records for how much rent you received and which expenses you incurred.

You can have them transfer these details to your Australian accountant who will then prepare your tax return.

Do you need help with a non-resident loan?

Our mortgage brokers specialise in lending to:

Please complete our free assessment form or call us on 1300 889 743 or +61 2 9194 1700 if you’re outside Australia.

  • Jamie Driscoll

    Hi, I am an Australian citizen who currently lives in the UK. Therefore I’m not a permanent resident in Australia, but I’m thinking of moving back to Australia within the next year. I currently work in the UK, and have dual Australian and UK citizenship. I’m considering purchasing a property around the Gosford area initially as an investment property but it could turn into a property I would live in potentially down the road. Am I able to purchase such a property using my current savings and my income which is in GBP when I’m not a permanent Australian resident but a citizen?

  • Hi Jamie,
    Yes you can do this. At present it’s likely that we can lend you 70% to 80% of the property value. In rare cases we can lend 90% (it’s unlikely).
    We’ve got a page on your situation here https://www.homeloanexperts.com.au/australian-expat-home-loans/australian-expats-mortgage-uk/

  • Mr Brown

    Hi, Im a UK Citizen, I live in the UK.
    My Partner is Australian, Lives In Paris-France and works for an Australian Company in Paris, Paid in Aussie Dollars, pays tax in Australia. I own a home in the UK but work internationally, I Pay tax on my income in both the UK and the USA.
    Can you take my US earnings (which have not had calculated in the borrowing/mortgage on my UK home as only my UK earnings were used for that Purchase) into account to buy a property in Australia which I would combine with my Partners Australian Income?
    We would aim to buy in VIC, as either an investment or to live in.
    Thanks

  • Hi
    Your situation is quite complex so we’d need a full application and then to discuss your scenario with the lenders and confirm if they’ll accept your situation.

    We can definitely get a loan for your partner solely in their name to buy a property in just their name.

    The challenge is to include you and your income. Being married would help as otherwise they’d raise concerns about you being residents of different countries. Secondly borrowing less than 80% of the property value would also be required.

    If you’d like us to help you work out if you’re eligible then please contact us here https://www.homeloanexperts.com.au/free-quote/

  • Robert Chung

    Hi .. I am plannng to buy an apartment in Perth as investment. I am a Brunei citizen. Is it possible to get home Loan in Wa. I am looking for atleast 70%.

  • Hi Robert,
    If you’re a Brunei citizen earning an income in BND we can lend you 70% of the property value. You must be employed (not a business owner). Indicative rate of approx 7.99% p.a. with a 3 year loan term. Potentially in 3 years time there would be other lenders available and you can refinance to a lower rate.
    If you’d like our help then please contact us here https://www.homeloanexperts.com.au/free-quote/

  • Raymond Tee

    Hi, I am Malaysian, but holding work permit in Port moresby, papua new guinea n employed in papua new guinea. My partner is holding permanent resident in Australia, but working in papua new guinea as well,can we combine our name n purchase an existing property in QLD?or just using her name only to purchase the property n get the loan? existing? Thanks n looking forward for your reply.

  • Hi Raymond,
    What currencies are you both paid in?

  • Raymond Tee

    Png kina, PGK

  • Hi Raymond
    This would be on a case by case basis. Very likely if just buying in your partner’s name and borrowing max 70% of the property value then we can get you approved. However higher amounts would be uncertain. Papua New Guinean Kina is not on the preferred currency list for many of our lenders and many lenders require Australian citizenship if you have a foreign income. So it is this combination that makes it difficult.
    If you’d like us to confirm what you’re eligible for we’d need your payslips, copies of your work visa, passports and an application form completed. If you’d like to do this then complete this enquiry form https://www.homeloanexperts.com.au/free-quote/

  • rajinder kharay

    Hi
    I am uk resident and have children who are PR in SA. I intend to visit them regularly every year for two or three month periods and considering purchasing a small unit to stay in during my visits.
    As a pensioner I’m interested to know if a 20% loan could be available and if there are any restrictions on retired people buying residential property in SA.

  • Hi Rajinder,
    This would likely be more trouble than it’s worth. I’d recommend that you consider buying in your children’s name instead.
    You wouldn’t qualify for a loan, you’d need to buy a new property and pay a FIRB approval fee of $5,000. Whereas if your children buy instead it should be fairly simple.

  • rajinder kharay

    Thanks for the prompt reply.

  • Arie

    Hi, I would like to buy an investment property with a Chinese foreign investor abroad. We would like to go 50/50 to buy the existing house with plans to redevelop it. Is that possible?

  • Yes it’s possible but the rate will be much higher and the choice in lenders will be limited.
    I’d recommend that you consider buying in your name only.

  • Arie

    If we bought in my name what protections of ownership would he have?
    Can we buy an established property? We just want to renovate it.
    What sort of interest rate would he get here?

  • Hi Arie
    If you buy in your name only then yes an established property would be ok, assuming you are a PR or Aus citizen.
    You could protect his interests by signing a legal agreement drawn up by a solicitor and secured with a caveat. You’d need legal and financial advice before doing something like that.

  • Arie

    I am an Aus citizen.
    Could we buy 50/50 instead on established property?
    Thanks so much

  • Hi,
    If he has any ownership in the property then the rate will be 8% approx. Chinese investors are not viewed favourably by the banks at the moment.
    If he has any ownership then it must also be a new property to meet FIRB guidelines.

  • Andreas Wijono

    Hi, I am considering to buy property in Australia. May I know how To get the permit to buy? Can I get a loan from the local bank? What kind of ownership can I get? Is it easy to withdraw the money if we decided to sell in the future?

  • Hi Andreas,
    Depending on your situation (temporary visa / foreign investor), you’ll be required to obtain approval from the Foreign Investments Review Board (FIRB) to get permitted to buy Australian property. The type of ownership you can get will also depend on your situation. Please check out the FIRB approval page to find out more about this and also how to lodge an application with them:
    https://www.homeloanexperts.com.au/non-resident-mortgages/firb-approval/

  • Sam Ash

    Hi.
    My wife and I have an Israeli nationality and come on 457 visa to work in AUS.
    Is it possible to buy a house or should we face any difficulties?

    Thanks.

  • Hey Sam
    Yes, it is possible to buy a house here but first you’ll need to get approval from the Foreign Investments Review Board (FIRB). You can then borrow up to 80% or even up to 90% with select banks as a special exception to standard lending criteria. You can check out the 457 visa home loan page to learn more:
    https://www.homeloanexperts.com.au/non-resident-mortgages/457-visa-mortgage-new/

  • Muhammad Ahmed Sultan

    Hi,
    Im currently studying in Sydney as a international student and my parents are showing interest in buying an apartment as it would be cheaper in the long run. Am I only permitted to buy new apartments? Would I still have to get approval from the FIRB? Is there a website which only shows new apartments for sale? and how much percentage would the mortgage repayment be?
    Kind regards,
    Ahmed Sultan

  • Hi Kerry,
    Yes you can use the equity in your Melbourne property to buy another without the need to save another deposit. We have access to lenders that give great interest rates for Australian expats https://www.homeloanexperts.com.au/non-resident-mortgages/australian-expat-mortgage/ as not many Australian banks will lend to someone with a foreign income.

  • Angus Cheng

    iam hk resident.

    my son is the australia PR and he has
    setup his family trust in australia. can we buy a property under his family trust

  • Tamim

    Hello, My son has a student visa to Australia and we are thinking of buying a house over there to be used by him during his study period. is it a must to buy a new house to be registered on our name or we can buy a second hand house ? is it possible as a foreigner to have house bank loan?

    Regards,

  • Hi Angus,
    Yes you can buy under his family trust. Due to Know Your Customer (KYC) legislation the banks will often look at who is actually behind a trust or who benefits from the trust. It’s much easier if it’s just an Aus PR holder on their own, if foreign owners are involved then few banks can approve your loan.
    Please contact us if you’d like our help to get approved https://www.homeloanexperts.com.au/free-quote/

  • Hi Tamim
    You can buy in your son’s name if he has a high income. If his work hours are limited then usually he could only afford $100,000 approx so this is not a good option.
    If you buy in your name then it must be a new property, you must get FIRB approval ($5,000) and if in NSW, VIC or QLD then you’ll pay foreign citizen additional stamp duty as well. Yes it is possible for you to get a loan but you can borrow a max of 70% of the property value and at approx 8% p.a. so it is more expensive.

  • Maria

    Hi , a friend of mine from Indonesia ( not holding any visas , want to buy a farm land and settle here in australia , say like a small farm , if there minimum price of farm he can buy ?

  • Mike Tan

    can foreigners buy resale in melbourne?

  • Hi Mike,
    Yes a foreign citizen can buy a property in Melbourne however the Victoria state government charges a high levy on foreign buyers.
    I’d recommend that you consider ACT, WA or TAS as you can buy good investment properties there and they do not have the foreigner levy.
    Your loan would be expensive, around 8% per annum and you’d be able to borrow 60% to 70% of the property value.

  • Alice Wong

    Hello, we are from HK and have signed a sale contract (however there was no general condition/special conditions attached, only vendor statement and the sale contract itself) to purchase property in Melbourne, but did NOT sign the transfer of land (recently received) as me and my friend are both not able to get a mortgage as it is out of our budget. Back then in 2015, when we signed our contract, mortgage was at 80% but now in 2017, it is 60%. We only paid the 10% deposit and some other pre-lim fees such as costs agreement between solicitor and client.

    We would like to fall-out now from our purchase, can we do that? If so, what consequences will we face (if any)?

  • Hi Alice.
    Sorry to hear about your situation.
    If you do not proceed with the contract then the vendor can keep your deposit. Technically they can also sue you as well however they are unlikely to do this if you are offshore. I would recommend that you seek legal advice before deciding what to do.
    Unfortunately nobody tells buyers the risks of buying off the plan. We’ve written a page about it here https://www.homeloanexperts.com.au/property-types/off-the-plan-units/

  • Miodrag Rosic

    Hello,
    My mom 20 years ago got Australian citizenship. She bought an apartment. Now she is 78 years old and she would like to transfer ownership of the apartment to me and to my sister. Since we are not Australian citizens, is it possible?

    regards,

  • Hi Miodrag,
    This may or may not work depending on your visa status. Do you and your sister have a permanent or temporary residency visa for Australia?
    In all likelihood the problem would be the Foreign Investment Review Board. They require foreign investors (as you would be seen) to buy new properties. There’s more info here https://www.homeloanexperts.com.au/non-resident-mortgages/firb-approval/

  • Loc Nguyen

    Hello, My name is Loc Nguyen. I would like to ask you whether I can buy a used house or new house in Australia?
    In the case I have enough money to buy the house no need a loan, can I buy one?
    My email is locnguyen292@gmail.com

  • Australia is a great place to invest in property due to its low price. The Australian market has never fall price less than 20% which is a great advantage. Moreover, Australia has no restrictive investment law which makes to invest difficultly. Wonderful article!

  • Thanks for reading and for your comment Marek Stachura.

    Cheers : )

  • H C

    Hi,

    I am currently in Canada and have PR for Australia and planning to move there soon. But I would like to buy a house as soon as possible after I land there. I still don’t have Tax File Number. so my question is what would be the best process to follow in my situation. Also, can I get loan pre-approval without Tax File Number and before landing to Australia?

    Thanks in advance!

  • Hi HC,
    A TFN is not required to qualify for a home loan in Australia. You will need to have a job and to have started working there for at least one day before you can qualify. Some lenders will be ok with this but others will not. As long as you apply with the right bank you will be fine. Just save our details and give us a call when you are ready to buy. Ask for our non-resident lending team as they specialise in your type of situation.

  • H C

    Thank you so much for your quick response. I really appreciate it.
    Couple of questions – How much I can borrow if I try to go for a loan after my first day of job?
    Also when you say some lenders won’t be ok, so wondering what’s general rule of thumb regarding number of days at work to get qualify by most of the lenders.

  • Once you are in your job for > 6 months then all lenders will assist. If you are just one day in your job then you can borrow 95% of the property value (including LMI) as long as you have a history of employment in the same line of work. Usually you can still get a good interest rate so most people buy right away rather than waiting for 6 months.

  • Jay

    Hi we have land here in Melbourne,hopefully release in feb this year,but we are not permanent resident yet…what we should do to get loan from bank?we have 457 visa until 2019.i applied for my permanent residency one year ago…

  • Hi Jay,
    Just FYI the additional foreign citizen stamp duty in VIC is 7% of the purchase price and it applies to temporary residents. If you signed the contract to buy the land before the duty came into effect then you will not pay it. If you sign the contract once you have PR then you will not pay it.
    The good news is that this duty applies to the land only not to the cost of construction.
    We can lend up to 90% of the land value and 90% of the cost of construction for someone on a 457 visa. I’ll email you and cc one of our non-resident specialist mortgage brokers who can assist you further.

  • Ammar

    Hey i’m looking to invest in one of the apartments in the Melbourne CBD as a foreigner. However, the developer has sold every apartment and the only way to purchase an apartment is through resale, meaning we have to buy through foreign owner. As a foreigner, is this allowed? If so, am i required to acquire the FIRB approval?

    Note that the apartment is still currently under construction and will be completed by the end of this year. Thanks so much!

  • Hi Ammar
    One of the people who has purchased would need to agree to sell to you and it would need to be ‘new’ at the time of the purchase meaning that nobody has lived in it before. So potentially you could do this. You’d need to ask the real estate agent who sold the properties if they know of any buyers who have been unable to settle and would like to onsell their unit to you instead. Note that as a foreign citizen you will find getting a loan in Australia very difficult and the rates may be up to 8% p.a. There is also a high foreign citizen stamp duty in VIC that may be prohibitive for you to purchase.

  • Ammar

    Thanks the reply. Am i still required to acquire the FIRB approval even if its a resale property?

  • Hi Ammar,
    We’re not 100% sure on this sorry. It could be that the developer obtained FIRB approval for the entire block and we are not sure if that would then be carried over to you as the 2nd buyer. If not then you would definitely require FIRB approval. It’s best to check with FIRB to be sure.

  • Francis Allen

    Is it possible for a foreign person from the USA to buy an established property in WA?

  • Hi Francis,
    No you would need to buy a new property or to buy land and build a new property. Also it is likely you can borrow a maximum of 60% to 70% of the property value and the rate would be around 8% as of today as you are a foreign investor (no Australian citizenship / Permanent Residency).
    If you like we can put you in touch with a company that assists foreign people to buy a new property in WA?

  • Francis Allen

    Thank you for your reply. The request was on behalf of my parents-in-law who were looking to buy a house outright. They had been told the same information but we’re looking for confirmation.

  • James

    Hi there. I’m a kiwi who owns my own house in Queensland (I don’t have Australian citizenship). I’m thinking about moving back to NZ and renting my house out here. Are there any large downsides to this? Any will there be any problems if I decide to sell it in the future from New Zealand?

  • Hi James,
    It’s not too big a deal. If you have a loan on the property then non-resident withholding tax (NZ gov tax if paying interest to an overseas entity) is something to consider. It’s easy to avoid by refinancing to a lender who is registered in NZ (we can assist with this). It’s best to do this while you’re in Australia. There’s some more info on this NZ tax here https://www.homeloanexperts.com.au/non-resident-mortgages/new-zealand-citizen-mortgage/
    The QLD ghost tax surcharge (land tax) may also apply https://www.homeloanexperts.com.au/non-resident-mortgages/foreign-citizen-stamp-duty/
    Aside from that it isn’t a big deal. Lots of kiwis own properties in Australia and move back to NZ. I’d recommend that you speak to an accountant before making any decisions as although we are very experienced in this area of lending we cannot give tax advice or financial advice.

  • fadhlan

    I am an Indonesian citizen. I bought an off the plan property at Brisbane and development will be ready at the end of the year. My builder is assisting me to get a home loan. I just wanted to know how much time I need to initiate a loan application. Thanks in advance.

  • Hi fadhlan,
    It’s recommended that you apply for a loan 90 days before the property settlement is due. We can complete a pre-assessment now to make sure that you will be qualified at the time you need to settle. Then you can just contact your broker/builder 90 days from the settlement and they’ll complete the formal application. Also, note that lending policy may change between now and when you settle.

  • Knightley

    Hi, I am currently on a 457 visa and planning to apply for PR in 2 months time. I have been in Australia for 2 years and paying tax regularly. I wanted to know if I applied for PR and buy a property, will I still have to pay the foreigner stamp duty?

  • Hi Knightley,
    As you’re required to pay stamp duty within 30 days of settlement, it’s best to wait until you have secured your permanent residency. However, please call the revenue office of the state you’re buying in to confirm their rules for permanent residents. Some states don’t apply the stamp duty surcharge at all or won’t apply it to temporary residents (457 visa holders) married to an Australian citizen or permanent resident.

  • Ho Hilda

    Hi, I am a permanent resident in Australia and have a proper job which won’t have trouble to get mortgage from the bank here, depending of the amount of course. However, I would like to have the property under my name and my sister’s name but my sister is not a PR or citizen in Australia.
    What is the best way to do it or to start?
    Is it possible?
    Does it have to be new properties?
    Thanks.

  • Hi
    This is a very difficult structure and I’d recommend you avoid it. The choice in lenders will be limited, the rate will double from around 4% to around 8%, you’ll require FIRB approval, you must buy a new property and you will pay foreign citizen stamp duty on her 50% of the property.

    It just isn’t worth it if you can just buy in your name only then I recommend that you do this.

  • Stacy Porter

    Hi.. we are traveling to Australia for a year from the US on a visa with our 3 kids. We will likely stay in the Byron Bay or Noosa area. Is it possible to buy a fixer upper with cash (or loan) and renovate it over the time are there?

  • kaushal gautam

    Hi can indian citizen buy old or new house .what is average house rate with all fee thanks

  • Hi Stacy
    It’s possible but it’s unlikely to be a feasible plan from a financial point of view. Getting a loan would be difficult as I’m assuming you’d be leaving your jobs to move to Australia. If you buy a property to live in then you must get FIRB approval and pay foreign citizen stamp duty which would mean the project wouldn’t be worth your time.
    It might be best to just enjoy the beach instead!
    FIRB info: https://www.homeloanexperts.com.au/non-resident-mortgages/firb-approval/
    Foreign Citizen Stamp Duty: https://www.homeloanexperts.com.au/non-resident-mortgages/foreign-citizen-stamp-duty/

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  • Claire B

    Hello, I’m on a Temporary Permanent Resident Partner visa, I work and live in Australia and am the high income earner in our couple. My de facto partner is an Australian citizen. We would like to buy an existing apartment together for living in. Can we buy the property in his name only, while still taking my income into account for the loan? I am confused because some people told us it should be fine and other that this would strictly not be possible because I still considered a foreigner – and I don’t want to do anything that the government might consider illegal. Thanks in advance for your advice!

  • Hi Claire
    Yes this can be done. It’s just not always guaranteed. We specialise in this area whereas most lenders and mortgage brokers don’t handle this situation very often. We’d need to review your full situation to be sure. Most importantly:
    – How long have you lived with your partner for?
    – Do you have anything that would assist to show you are in a stable long term relationship e.g. registered relationship with Aus government, children, engagement, lived overseas together etc?
    The key is for us to show you are more like a married couple as the definition of defacto in the lending industry can vary and it is seen as higher risk than a married couple.

  • Claire B

    Thank you for your very quick reply! We have been continuously living together for ~7 years, (including ~4 years abroad) and we have put together extensive documentation showing this for the Partner visa application (joint bank accounts, terms of will, social recognition, etc…but no children, or engagement).
    It’s great to hear that it may be possible. My main concern is with the legality of this operation in the eye of the government: would they have any grounds to fine us or consider that I am investing in real estate even if my name is not on the property title?

  • Hi Claire,
    It’s perfectly legal to structure the property to be on one name and for both to be on the loan. That’s definitely fine under the NCCP act (lending law) and under the laws regarding foreign investment and immigration.
    Yes it looks like you would qualify. The evidence we need is far less than that for a partner visa don’t worry! If you can show things like flight tickets together going back > 5 years that would be helpful.
    I’ll email you and cc one of our mortgage brokers who specialises in Aus citizen + temp resident mortgages.

  • lily lee

    Hi, I’m HK resident and would like to know if I can buy property in TAS with 60-70% mortgage? Thanks.

  • Hi Lily,
    Just to confirm:
    – Which countries are you a citizen of?
    – Do you have any visa for Australia (permanent residency / temporary residency)?
    – Are you employed or self employed?

  • lily lee

    Thanks for your reply. I am only a Hong Kong citizen without any visa for AUS and I am employed.

  • Hi Lily
    We’ve written a page specifically for people in your situation https://www.homeloanexperts.com.au/non-resident-mortgages/foreigner-mortgage/
    We’re just updating that page now so I’ll summarise what you’re likely to be able to do:
    – Borrow 70% with high rates (6.9% – 8%) OR 55% with low rates (4.8%)
    – The property must be new or off the plan to meet FIRB rules https://www.homeloanexperts.com.au/non-resident-mortgages/firb-approval/
    – There are no additional taxes for foreign investors in TAS https://www.homeloanexperts.com.au/non-resident-mortgages/foreign-citizen-stamp-duty/

  • lily lee

    Thanks so much. I will review your pages.

  • Eben Wisse

    Good day.i’m a South African Citizen who resides in SA.If i buy property in Australia for investing purpose(to rent out)or for a holiday destination do i receive permanent resident status/benefits because i owe property in the country?

  • Hi Eben
    Owning property in Australia doesn’t grant you a visa of any kind. For some types of PR they may consider your ties to Australia and owning property may be considered however we believe it is not that important. It’s best to speak to the Department of Immigration to get advice on visas.

  • Sg nominee

    Hi I am Australian citizen. I bought a new apartment in Melbourne with my partner as joint tenants. My partner is not an Australian citizen or PR. Would I still need to pay the foreigner stamp duty? Thanks!

  • Hi Sg,
    In that case when you’ve purchased a property with a non-resident as joint tenants, you have to pay stamp duty but only on their portion. You could have avoided the duty if you’ve purchased the property on your sole name. You could get more info about Foreign citizen stamp duty here https://www.homeloanexperts.com.au/non-resident-mortgages/foreign-citizen-stamp-duty/.

  • Della

    Hi,
    When foreigner buying property in Australia, do they transfer the fund (either deposit or settlement) to the solicitor’s account or to the developer’s account?

    Thanks for your help

  • Hi Della,
    The fund for deposit can be transferred to either solicitor’s account or developer’s account based on their agreement with the solicitor or developer. Usually, for settlement, the cheque is issued by the bank in the vendor’s name and there’ll be his solicitor to oversee everything goes smoothly. Hope

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  • Akshay Patel

    Hi,

    I am Indian and would like to invest in Australia. We are a cosortium of investors who would like to buy land in Australia. Do you think it is possible for us to buy property in Australia? What kind of approvals would one require for investing in Australia?

  • Hi Akshay,
    Yes, foreign investors from India are allowed to buy a property in Australia, but the investment property must be a new property or a vacant land. Foreign Investment Review Board (FIRB) approval is required for foreign nationals buying real estate in Australia. You can get more info about the approval here: https://www.homeloanexperts.com.au/non-resident-mortgages/firb-approval/.
    Call us on +61 2 9194 1700 or fill in our free assessment form https://www.homeloanexperts.com.au/free-quote/ and we can contact you via email or phone to discuss your finance options.

  • Aman

    Hi I’m here in Perth on spouse visa is it possible here to buy my own house ??
    And what’s the requirements and what are the minimum payments I have to do?
    Thanks

  • Hi Aman,
    You can buy a property, however, the person on the temporary spouse visa must be buying the property with an Australian citizen or permanent resident and you must be in a relationship with them. You can borrow up to 95% of the property value if you’re buying together.

    On the other hand, if you are planning to buy on your own, your mortgage will be limited to 80% of the property value and have to buy the property as a temporary resident. Then, you may have to obtain an approval from the Foreign Investment Review Board (FIRB) and have to pay additional stamp duty. You can find out more about buying on a spouse visa here: https://www.homeloanexperts.com.au/non-resident-mortgages/partner-visa-mortgage/.

    Call us on 1300 889 743 or fill in our free assessment form https://www.homeloanexperts.com.au/free-quote/ and we can contact you via email or phone to discuss your finance options.

  • Rainer Martiskin

    Hi.. I am a citizen – if my business partner is from o/s, and we jointly purchase property in australia – under an Australian ABN / he is also a director-how does that affect the FIRB rules.
    No mortage required and the $ is quite substantial..

  • Rainer Martiskin

    Hi.. If an Australian company has foreign partners/ directors – and that company purchases property in Australia / NZ – with the rental returns etc.. can their share of the r/r be transferred to their o/s bank account.

  • Hi Rainer,
    FIRB approval is not required for foreign persons purchasing property as joint tenants with their Australian citizen spouse, New Zealand citizen spouse, or Australian permanent resident spouse. However, this exemption does not include buying property as tenants in common. You can get more info in the FIRB website http://firb.gov.au/.

  • You need to consult with an accounts advisor for the exact answer. Sorry, we can’t say for sure for this.

  • Marion

    Hi, I’m in a defacto relationship with an Australian citizen and we would like to purchase a property here in NSW. Do we have to pay the foreigner stamp duty surcharge?

  • Hi Marion, defacto relationships are defined as living together for over 2 years. So basically, by having the name of your Australian partner on the property title you can avoid paying the foreigner stamp duty surcharge. Moreover, you wouldn’t require Foreign Investment Review Board (FIRB) approval either.

  • Enrique

    Hi, is it possible to have the property title on my name alone while using both me and my spouse’s income to service the loan? As she is Dutch currently here on a BVA partner Visa, I would like to avoid the foreign stamp duty surcharge.

  • Hi Enrique,

    Yes, there are a few lenders who accept a structure with both you and your spouse on the home loan to service the loan and just you on the property title to avoid the foreigner stamp duty surcharge. Please fill in our online assessment form and one of our specialist mortgage brokers will get in touch with you within 24-48 hours: https://www.homeloanexperts.com.au/free-quote

  • Dano

    Hello,
    I’m a temporary resident in the process of applying for a partner visa (we’re in a de facto relationship for almost two years now looking to get married soon)
    I’m looking to buy a land and build a new house with my Australian partner in NSW.
    Would we still need to pay the foreigner stamp duty if we’re both registered on the deed..?

    Many thanks
    Dan

  • Lenny

    Hi there,
    I’m an NZ citizen and I’ll be moving to Melbourne from Auckland to manage the local branch for my company come August of this year. I’m planning to purchase a house there and as this will be my first property in Au. do I qualify for the first home grant? Also, can I purchase a property before I move or do I have to be in Australia?

  • Hi Lenny,
    To be eligible to receive the first home owners grant (FHOG), you need to be in Australia. For a purchase in Melbourne (VIC), you’d only need to be here while signing the contract whereas for New South Wales (NSW) you need to be in the country for at least 200 days to be eligible to avoid the foreigner stamp duty surcharge.

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  • Aneta

    Hi thanks for you time to help us all. Great read and well sorted to guide us to austarlia. Yet i still have a question. Hubby and i are both new zealand citizens and have been in Australia numerous times as we have family there. The original plan was to move there mid 2019 so last year we oppened account got our drivers licences so we can be ready and plans had to be postponed by one more year. Now we would like to purchase vacant land in brisbane so we can have our home built by the time we move. Do we still have to pay the foreigner duty? Is out visa canceled evry time we leave Australia? Thanks so much

  • Hi Aneta,
    Typically, NZ citizens who are on a 444 Special Category visa and have had their visa for at least 200 days are exempt from paying the foreign stamp duty surcharge. Queensland (Brisbane) will still apply the stamp duty surcharge if they find that you entered Australia just for the purpose of purchasing a property.

    It’s likely that your state’s revenue office will liaise with the Department of Immigration and Border Protection to identify borrowers that have travelled between Australia and New Zealand in a short space of time. It’s also important to keep in mind that the 444 visa expires if you’re outside of Australia when the Department completes a Visa Entitlement Verification Online (VEVO) check. We advise our clients to speak with a qualified solicitor and your state’s revenue office to determine what rules apply because they can change on a regular basis.

    Please call us on 1300 889 743 (+61 2 9194 1700 if you’re outside Australia) once you’re ready to proceed with the purchase.

  • abrogard

    Does a foreign investor have any rights to enter australia to visit the property, live in the property, etc… any ‘extra’ rights beyond those a foreign non-property owner would have?

  • Hi abrogard,
    I can’t think of any ‘extra’ rights. You should consult a solicitor specialising in immigration as they would have a better understanding of the issue. This falls outside our area of expertise.