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Foreign Citizen Stamp Duty

Does it apply to all foreigners and Australian temporary residents?

Foreign citizens who want to buy or invest in residential property in Victoria (VIC), New South Wales (NSW) and Queensland (QLD) will need to pay a surcharge on top of their stamp duty (land transfer duty) and, in some states, land tax.

These changes have already come into effect but whether you’ll actually be hit with the extra cost depends on your situation.

The additional land transfer duty doesn’t actually apply to all foreign citizens or even every Australian state and territory so how can you avoid it?

Who does the additional duty apply to?

The land transfer duty surcharge and extra land tax (select states only) applies to certain foreign purchasers and only in certain circumstances.

It can get really confusing so read on to find out more for your specific state.

This additional duty only applies in Victoria, New South Wales and Queensland!

As yet, all other states and territories don’t apply a stamp duty or land tax surcharge.

Call us on 1300 880 743 (+61 2 9194 1700 if you’re outside Australia) or complete our free assessment form and we can let you know if you know if you qualify for a foreigner mortgage.

You may be able to borrow up to 65% of the property value with some of our lenders!

Victoria foreign citizen stamp duty

When does it apply?

How much is the extra tax?

Prior to the additional stamp duty changes that came into effect on 1 July 2015, duty in Victoria was applied on a sliding scale, starting at 1.4 per cent for properties valued at $25,000 and rising to 5.5 per cent for those valued at $960,000 and above.

These rates still apply but the SRO Vic began charging an additional duty of 3% of the property value for contracts signed between 1 July 2015 and 30 June 2016 as well as the normal duty.

Today, a 7% additional land transfer duty applies to all property purchased from 1 July 2016 onwards.

Increased stamp duty is the only surcharge that will apply.

However, the VIC government’s absentee owner surcharge on Land Tax increased from 0.5% to 1.5% on 1 January 2017.

This is an annual fee based on the value of the land you own in Victoria.

Units and houses have a portion of their value which is considered to be land for tax purposes.

Example

For an $800,000 property in Victoria, the normal stamp duty is $43,070.

For foreigners and certain visa holders, your stamp duty now shoots up to $99,070 for the same property. That’s $56,000 more!

NSW foreign citizen stamp duty

When does it apply?

  • You’re buying residential property in the state of NSW. The surcharge doesn’t apply to commercial property.
  • You’re a foreign citizen or temporary resident. This doesn’t apply if you’re an Australian citizen, permanent resident or a New Zealand citizen on a Special Category Visa (subclass 444).
  • You signed the Contract of Sale after 21 June 2016. This is only for the stamp duty surcharge – a land tax surcharge also applies to purchases made from 1 January 2017.
  • Please refer to the NSW Office of State Revenue website for more information.

How much is the extra tax?

A 4% stamp duty surcharge and a 0.75% land tax surcharge applies.

In addition to this, foreign investors will no longer be entitled to the 12 month deferral for the payment of stamp duty for off the plan purchases of residential property.

Example

Previously your stamp duty would have been $31,490.

You’re now paying $63,490 which is a $32,000 increase.

QLD foreign citizen stamp duty

When does it apply?

  • You’re buying residential property in the state of Qld.
  • You’re a foreign citizen or temporary resident. This doesn’t apply if you’re an Australian citizen, permanent resident or a New Zealand citizen on a Special Category Visa (subclass 444).
  • You signed the Contract of Sale after 1 October 2016.
  • Please refer to the QLD Office of State Revenue website for more information.

How much is the extra tax?

A 3% stamp duty surcharge applies.

Example

Previously, your stamp duty would have been $21,850.

You’re now paying $45,850 which is a $24,000 increase.

What if I’m buying with my spouse?

If you’re an Australian citizen living and working overseas (an expat) and you want to buy a property with your wife who is a foreign citizen, you won’t be charged the additional land transfer duty.

Even though you’re overseas, you’re exempt from the surcharge because you’re still an Australian citizen and your wife is exempt because she is legally married to you.

The trick to buy the property in your name while the mortgage itself can be in both of your names.

How else can I avoid foreign citizen stamp duty?

If you’re currently a temporary resident and not married to an Australian citizen, your next best bet is to either buy in a state that doesn’t apply extra stamp duty or wait until you become a permanent resident.

Are other states planning to introduce the higher duty?

NSW and QLD are the only two states so far to follow VIC’s lead in introducing a stamp duty and land tax surcharge for foreign purchasers.

It’s unclear whether other states will follow, purely because average property prices in other states are lower: the amount of revenue other states can expect to generate pales in comparison to QLD, NSW and VIC.

Why did NSW, VIC and QLD do this?

When explaining its reason for introducing the higher duty, the Victorian government said that it was only fair that foreign investors pay their fair share to fund government services and infrastructure.

QLD and NSW made similar announcements, with figures of up to $1 billion in revenue-raising being bandied about.

Most foreign investors won’t be fazed by the higher costs of buying a property and investment is still strong.

Do you need a non-resident mortgage?

Are you a foreign citizen, permanent resident, temporary resident or New Zealand citizen in need of a mortgage?

The Australian government has long had a love/hate relationship with foreign investors and rules and regulations for buying real estate change on a regular basis.

This also extends to bank and lender policy, from how much you can borrow to what type of non-residents can actually qualify for a mortgage.

Not all lenders are the same!

We’re experts in non-resident mortgages and can navigate this policy minefield so you have the best chance of qualifying for a mortgage in Australia!

Call us on 1300 889 743 (+61 2 9194 1700 if you’re outside Australia) or fill in our free assessment form to speak with one of our mortgage brokers.

  • belisario

    I’m a foreign citizen but my wife has a PR. Do we need to pay this when we’re getting our home loan?

  • Hi belisario,

    Since your wife has a PR, you won’t need to pay foreign citizen stamp duty if you’re buying with her and you’re in a spousal relationship. The same goes for FIRB approval.

  • Vickery D

    I am an overseas foreigner and I would like to know how much I can borrow to buy Australian real estate. It is my prime consideration to invest in the land down under because of how great the opportunity and returns there.

  • Hello Vickery,

    We’re glad t know that you want to invest in Australian real estate. You can generally borrow up to 70% of the purchase price of a new property in Australia. However, if you’re planning on coming over here or you’re married to an Australian citizen or PR holder then you can borrow more. We’ll need to know your full details to see if it’s something we can help with. Please email your info to us at info@homeloanexperts.com.au or simply call our overseas number +61 2 9194 1700 to discuss directly with one of our specialist mortgage brokers.

  • Vickery D

    Thank you sir. I will send you an email and maybe call in the coming days to discuss if there is anything specific I want to talk about.

  • mauri

    I’m a US citizen but my partner is from Australia. We’re both living and working in Hawaii and want to buy a house in Australia to move to within a year. We’re both self-employed – I’m a partner in a law firm and my partner’s a marketing consultant. Our combined income is around $220k AUD. We need help getting an Australian mortgage.

  • Hi mauri,

    We know lenders that can do self-employed expat home loan applications. You seem to have a strong income and as long as you can verify it, you may be able to borrow up to 95% of the property value. However, note that if your application is assessed as a foreigner mortgage application then this will reduce to 80%. Please call our overseas number +61 2 9194 1700 if you’d like to discuss your situation and loan needs and understand what options are available and find out if you qualify.

  • Dong Liang

    I’m applying PR and estimated 3 month to be approved. If i am going to buy a off the plan property in QLD now, can I claim back the extra stamp duty because I will have the PR at the time of settlement.

  • Hi Dong,
    Good question. In most states it is based on your residency status at the time of settlement. As this is an unusual question I’d recommend that you call the QLD OSR on 1300 300 734 (Australia) or +61 7 3227 6044 (overseas) to confirm their rules.

    Just be careful of the Brisbane CBD area as many lenders believe this to be oversupplied. If you’d like our help with a home loan then please feel free to contact us https://www.homeloanexperts.com.au/free-quote/

  • Katie

    Hi
    I am a New Zealand citizen living in (Australia special visa subclass 444). I am buying property with my partner who is an Australian citizen. Will I be required to pay extra stamp duty or will we be required to pay less stamp duty than if we were both Australian citizens?

  • Hi Katie,
    As you are a PR holder you’ll pay normal stamp duty. If you’re both first home buyers and / or buying a new property then you may get an exception depending on the state that you’re buying in.
    If you like let me know if you are both first home buyers, the state you’re in, the approx purchase price and if you’re buying a new or existing property and I can let you know.

  • Sarbjit Singh

    Hi,
    I am Australian PR working in Singapore. I want to buy my 1st property in Sydney (NSW). Would I be eligible to get stamp duty waiver? Would I be eligible to get subsidy from govt as it’s my 1st property?

    Regards
    Sarbjit

  • Hi Sarbjit
    Yes you are eligible for a home loan. Have a read of this page for more information https://www.homeloanexperts.com.au/non-resident-mortgages/permanent-resident-mortgage/
    If you buy a new property you may be eligible for the stamp duty waiver as long as the property you buy isn’t over the maximum allowable purchase price. Up to $550,000 you’d pay no stamp duty on a new home and up to $650,000 you’d pay partial stamp duty. On an established home you’d pay full stamp duty.
    To get a grant of $10,000 you must live in the home for at least 6 months starting within the first 12 months. So you could move to Australia 11 months after buying the property and that would be ok. You can read this for more info http://www.osr.nsw.gov.au/grants

  • Patty

    Hello Home Loan Experts,

    I recently arrived here in Australia on a 190 visa and I am considering buying a house here so I can settle down instead of renting. I am living and working in Victoria and will be buying a property here so will I need to pay that hefty stamp duty?

  • Hello Patty,
    A 190 visa allows you to live and work in Australia as a permanent resident. So the foreign citizen stamp duty will not be applicable in your case. Please feel free to contact us if you’d like to discuss your situation and loan needs directly with a 190 visa home loan specialist.

  • kes

    Hi, my partner and i are looking to buy a property in melbourne. she is from the UK (currently awaiting PR approval) and i am australian. will we have to pay the foreign purchaser duties on the property as we are in a defacto relationship (currently on a defacto visa)??

  • Yes Kes I believe you would.
    A simple solution is to have the property in just your name and have the loan in both names. This is acceptable for some of our lenders. If you’d like our help then please complete your details here https://www.homeloanexperts.com.au/free-quote/