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Foreigner Mortgage

This page is a guide for foreign citizens living overseas who would like to apply for a mortgage to buy real estate in Australia.

Few Australian banks will lend to foreign investors as this is a complex and high risk area of lending.

Can I qualify for an Australian loan?

  • You can borrow up to 65% of the property value if you have a good job overseas.
  • If you live in Australia or are married to an Australian then this can allow you to borrow more.
  • Interest rate discounts are available from some lenders, even if you are overseas.
  • Our mortgage brokers speak many languages which can simplify the home buying process.
  • The currency of your income is important and will affect which lenders will accept your application.
  • Foreign business income is considered on a case by case basis.
  • Your borrowing power may be reduced due to some lenders allowing for large exchange rate movements.

Would you like help to apply for a mortgage in Australia?

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

What are the interest rates?

The great news is that some lenders now offer the same competitive professional packages and basic loan discounts that they offer to Australian citizens.

We can even negotiate with some lenders on your behalf to secure a better deal than their advertised interest rates.

Which currencies are preferred?

It’s much easier to get approved if your income is in one of the below currencies:

  • Australian Dollar (AUD)
  • Canadian Dollar (CAD)
  • Danish Kroner (DKK)
  • European Union Euro (EUR)
  • Hong Kong Dollar (HKD)
  • Indonesian Rupiah (IDR)
  • Japanese Yen (JPY)
  • Malaysian Ringgit (MYR)
  • New Caledonia Franc (CFP)
  • New Taiwan Dollar (TWD)
  • New Zealand Dollar (NZD)
  • Swedish Kroner (SEK)
  • Singaporean Dollar (SGD)
  • South Korean Won (KRW)
  • Swiss Franc (CHF)
  • Thai Baht (THB)
  • UK Pounds (GBP)

We can still consider your loan application if you have an income in another currency, however you may need to provide a larger deposit. In some cases you will also need to show a higher income to get approved.

How do they calculate my borrowing power?

The lender that we apply with will complete a ‘serviceability assessment’ to work out how large a loan you can afford to repay.

The method that they use is much stricter than what they normally use with Australian citizens living in Australia.

Most lenders will use

  • Rental income from the property you are buying.
  • Somewhere between 60% and 80% of your actual income.
  • Income from businesses outside of Australia (case by case basis).
  • Australian tax rates even if you are living in a country without income tax.
  • Loaded repayments on your foreign loans.

That means that most lenders will allow you to borrow much less than you can actually afford!

If you apply with the right lender then you’ll have your income accepted and a much higher chance of getting approved.

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

How does the loan application process work?

Obtaining your finance is relatively simple if you apply with a lender that commonly works with foreign investors.

You can then send us the required documents so that we can verify your income, confirm your identity and make sure that you’re eligible for a buy to let mortgage. We can then arrange the paperwork for you and seek an approval from the lender we have selected.

For most loan types, our services are free.

You can call us on 1300 889 743 (+61 2 9194 1700 from outside of Australia) or simply fill in our free assessment form and we can help you apply for a loan with an Australian bank.

Is approval from the Australian government required?

Yes, Foreign Investment Review Board (FIRB) approval is required for foreign nationals buying real estate in Australia.

The only exceptions are New Zealand citizens and permanent Australian residents.

Which nationalities are allowed to borrow in Australia?

Some countries have tax legislation that makes investing in Australia infeasible. Our Australian banks and lenders have provided us with a list of countries that they believe to be acceptable for home loan applications.

We recommend that you consult your accountant before deciding to apply for an Australian mortgage.

  • Austria (subject to conditions)
  • Bahrain
  • South Africa (subject to Exchange Control regulations)
  • Belgium (you may need to pay Withholding Tax in Belgium)
  • Bermuda
  • Brunei
  • Canada
  • Cayman Islands
  • China
  • Denmark
  • East Timor
  • Falkland Islands
  • Fiji
  • France
  • Germany
  • Hong Kong
  • Hungary
  • Iceland (subject to Withholding Tax Exemption)
  • India
  • Indonesia
  • Iraq
  • Ireland
  • Japan
  • Kenya
  • Kuwait
  • Latvia
  • Lebanon
  • Malaysia
  • Malta
  • Mauritius
  • New Caledonia
  • New Zealand (special mortgages are available for NZ citizens)
  • Norway
  • Oman
  • Papua New Guinea
  • Philippines
  • Qatar
  • Russia (subject to conditions)
  • Samoa
  • Saudi Arabia
  • Singapore
  • Sweden
  • South Korea
  • Switzerland
  • Tahiti
  • Thailand
  • The Netherlands
  • Trinidad & Tobago
  • Turkey
  • The United Kingdom (UK)
  • The United Arab Emirates (UAE)
  • The United States of America (USA)
  • Vanuatu
  • Vietnam

Finance for residents of other countries is available on a case by case basis. Australian expats who are living in one of the countries listed above are also eligible for Australian mortgages.

Which nationalities most often buy to let in Australia?

The countries that most often look for a foreign mortgage to invest in Australian real estate are the United States (USA), Singapore, Mexico, the United Kingdom (UK) and the Netherlands.

As buying becomes more popular, other countries such as the United Arab Emirates (UAE), India, China, Malaysia, Japan, Chile and New Zealand are showing trends of increasing investment in Australia.

What languages do our mortgage brokers speak?

We’re able to help people from a wide range of ethnic backgrounds to apply for an Australian Mortgage. Our staff can speak the following languages:

  • English
  • Cantonese
  • Mandarin (via an interpreter)
  • Arabic
  • French
  • Nepali / Nepalese
  • Bengali
  • Hindi
  • Urdu
  • Turkish
  • Spanish
  • Vietnamese
  • Tagalog
  • Japanese
  • Croatian (hrvatski jezik)
  • Bahasa Indonesia / Bahasa Malaysia (via an interpreter)
  • Other languages are available via an interpreter

Why did so many Australian banks stop lending to foreigners?

From 2005 up until 2016 there was a significant increase in the number of foreign investors. Unfortunately many of the loan applications contained false documents or were used to launder money earned illegally overseas.

As a result of this most banks stopped lending to both temporary residents of Australia, foreign investors and in some cases Australians living overseas as well.

CBA was the first bank to leave the foreign investor market, citing that it was not business that they were interested in.

Westpac in particular was a bank of choice for foreign investors until it pulled out of the market suddently in 2016.

ANZ and NAB have have changed their policies to be much more restrictive, forcing many foreign investors to look elsewhere.

Why do most banks ignore self-employed income?

Unfortunately borrowing money in Australia it’s much more difficult if you are self-employed. The main reason for this is that under Australian law both your mortgage broker and lender are required to verify your income and in many cases that isn’t possible.

We can consider your application using a specialist lender, however this will depend on the country that you are from, currency of your income and also the income evidence that you can provide.

Some lenders will require foreign tax returns while others will accept an overseas accountant’s declaration.

Can I buy a commercial farm?

Foreigners can purchase commercial property in Australia with FIRB approval but there are particular rules that apply to owning commercial farmland.

As of 1 December 2015, foreigners who own, or have an interest in, Australian agricultural land are required to notify the Australian Taxation Office (ATO) of their interest. This is via the register of Foreign Ownership of Agricultural Land Act 2015.

You’ll require FIRB approval on the sale of a commercial farm worth $10 million or more and be required to pay a non-refundable application fee of $100,000.

You can find out more information about this on the Farm Loan page.

Can I avoid the FIRB application fee?

Investors in the non-agricultural commercial sector will only face the maximum $100,000 fee if their prospective investment is worth more than $1 billion.

If you’re considering buying anything from a petrol station to a restaurant, check out the commercial property loans page on getting approved.

Alternatively, complete our free assessment form and let us know what you’re planning to do.

How do I apply for a mortgage in Australia?

We are mortgage brokers who specialise in non-resident home loans! We can help make the entire process of applying for a home loan to buy Australian property as simple as possible.

If you’d like to buy an investment property in Australia and are looking for foreign national lenders in Australia, please call us on +61 2 9194 1700 or complete our free assessment form and one of our brokers will contact you to futher discuss your options.

If you’re from Australia then call us on 1300 889 743 to speak to our expert team of brokers.

  • Richardson

    Hi, as a foreigner do I have to disclose all my liabilities when I apply for a loan with the bank?

  • Hi Richardson,

    Yes, you will have to disclose all your liabilities in order to stay compliant under the NCCP (National Consumer Credit Protection) Act, which has been designed to protect the consumers and establish ethical and professional standards in the finance industry.

  • Jonathan Nesbitt

    hi there, as a foreign national married to a non working Australian living overseas is there a particular type of visa I can apply for that would better my standing with the banks

  • Hi Jonathan

    If your wife is Australian and you are a citizen of another country then you can qualify to get a loan to buy a property in Australia. It’s a grey area as to if we can assess your loan as an expat citizen or as a foreign investor as you have mentioned the income is in your name. We’d need to also know which country you are in and if you are self employed or employed.. The main difference would be the interest rate and expats are allowed to borrow more.

  • Jonathan Nesbitt

    In Japan and I already own property in Australia, but at most the banks will finance is 60% LVR. I was wondering if there are any visa’s I could apply for that would help my standing, but unlikely given I’m offshore but thought I would ask.

  • Hi Jonathan
    If you are earning JPY It is possible we could consider 70% to 80% LVR on a case by case basis as your wife is Australian.

  • Jonathan Nesbitt

    Yup am earning in JPY, and would consider 80% on further purchases, how do I get in contact?

  • Best to call us on +61 2 9194 1700 from overseas or complete this form

    There should be someone available on the phone now. Ask for them to send you a short application form and then return this with your supporting documents. Ask them to refer it to Otto for assessment and he’ll do a full assessment and ensure you get the best LVR possible.

    We do quite a lot of expat and foreign investor loans so we’re quite used to the intricacies of them. Thanks for working with us.

  • Kleeberg

    I want to buy a house in Australia and I’m currently overseas. I have two options in mind. Be a foreign investor and get things done from here itself or advance my trip there (I’ll be on a 461 visa) and try to get finance. The latter is more likely to happen at the moment so I’d like to know if I can borrow 90% even if I’m on a 461 visa.

  • Hey Kleeberg, as long as you can meet standard bank lending criteria and prove that you’re able to service the mortgage, you may be able to borrow up to 95% of the property value on a 461 visa home loan. If you want to discuss this with an expert 461 visa mortgage broker, you can call on our overseas number +61 2 9194 1700 or 1300 889 743 if you’re here in Australia.