Last Updated: 28th May, 2024

Curious about purchasing property in Australia as a New Zealand citizen? You’re in the right place. We’ve put together this guide to walk you through the ins and outs of the process. From visa types eligible to buy to details on first-home buyer grants, stamp duty, and the need for FIRB approval, we’ve got you covered.

Can NZ Citizens Buy Property In Australia?

Absolutely. Upon arrival in Australia, New Zealand citizens are automatically granted a Special Category Visa (Subclass 444), which grants them property purchasing rights similar to Australian citizens and permanent residents.

You can buy residential properties such as houses, apartments, townhouses, vacant land for building, investment properties for rental, and even commercial real estate.

If the family member that you’re buying a property with is on a subclass 461 (New Zealand Citizen Family Relationship visa), however, there is an extra step. The visa holder will need to navigate the Foreign Investment Review Board (FIRB) approval process before making a property purchase.

How Much Can I Borrow?

The amount you can borrow depends on your residency status:

  • Borrow up to 95% of the property value if you’re an NZ citizen living in Australia.

  • Borrow up to 90% of the property value if you’re living in Australia on a 461 visa.

  • Borrow up to 85% of the property value if you are an NZ citizen living in New Zealand or another country.

Can We Qualify For A Home Loan When My Spouse Is On The 461 Visa?

You qualify for a 461 visa home loan if you satisfy the following criteria:

  • Family relationship: You must be part of the close family unit of a New Zealand citizen holding a temporary Special Category visa (subclass 444) in Australia. This includes spouses/de facto partners, children or step-children.

  • Valid visa: You need to have a valid 461 visa

The bank will require full approval of your 461 visa before considering your home loan application.

Are NZ Citizens Eligible For The First Home Owner Grant?

Yes. New Zealand citizens residing in Australia are eligible for the First Home Owner Grant (FHOG), as they are considered permanent residents. There are some requirements you’ll have to be met to buy a home as a New Zealand citizen:

  • Living in Australia: In most cases, you need to be physically living in Australia at the time of settlement.

  • State requirements: The FHOG is a national scheme, but each state/territory has its own eligibility requirements and grant amounts. Some states may have residency requirements (e.g., living there for 200 days).

Additionally, you have to meet the eligibility requirements for FHOG. Our expert mortgage brokers can help NZ citizens in Australia access the FHOG. Call us at 1300 889 743 or complete our free online assessment form.

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Are New Zealand Citizens Buying A House In Australia Exempt From Stamp Duty?

The Special Category Visa (Subclass 444) that New Zealand citizens get upon arrival to Australia exempts them from the foreign stamp duty surcharge often required for international buyers. However, stamp-duty exemptions can vary by state and depend on factors like residency status and visa type.

Will I Pay A Higher Interest Rate As A NZ Citizen?

No, you will receive the same interest rates as an Australian citizen, even if you are borrowing up to 95% of the property value, provided you are in Australia. Be aware, however, you may be charged a higher interest rate if you are living outside of Australia.

What Documents Will I Need To Provide?

As a New Zealand citizen, you generally have similar rights and requirements as Australian citizens when it comes to purchasing a property.

The typical documents you will need to provide include proof of identity such as a passport, birth certificate, or driver’s licence. Additionally, you’ll need to submit visa documentation, including your Special Category Visa (SCV) or other valid Australian visa. Financial documents such as proof of income, evidence of deposit or savings, and details of your current bank, loan, and credit-card accounts are also required. Property-related documents such as the contract of sale and conveyancing paperwork are necessary for the application process.

Our Home Loan Application Process page has an in-depth explanation of what documents are needed and what each step entails.

Lenders may require additional documents depending on your specific circumstances or the type of property you intend to buy. Our experts are here to ensure you have all the necessary paperwork prepared for your home loan application. Call us at 1300 889 743 or fill out our free online assessment form, and we’ll get back to you as soon as possible.

What If I Am An NZ Citizen Living In Other Countries?

If you are a New Zealand citizen living outside Australia, your mortgage application will be processed as non-resident lending. This means you are required to obtain approval from the Foreign Investment Review Board (FIRB) before you can purchase property in Australia.

We have some lenders who can offer you a Loan-to-Value Ratio (LVR) of up to 85% on a case-by-case basis, depending on your financial health and credit history.

Be aware that living overseas might subject you to stricter lending criteria and potentially higher interest rates, due to the increased perceived risks. To navigate through these requirements smoothly, we encourage you to contact us and discuss your specific needs with our dedicated experts.

Do I Have To Pay The Non-Resident Withholding Tax (NRWT)?

If you reside in New Zealand and pay interest to a lender outside New Zealand, you may be subject to NRWT. This tax on interest payments can increase the cost of borrowing from overseas, potentially affecting the affordability of your investment. For example, if your interest rate is 4.00%, NRWT could effectively raise this rate to 4.40%, reflecting the tax’s impact on your financial transactions.

To manage or reduce the impact of NRWT, you might need to select a lender who meets certain criteria to exempt you from this tax. Alternatively, if the lender does not meet these criteria, you will be responsible for paying NRWT.

Can I Release Equity In A Property In NZ To Buy In Australia?

Yes, you can, but it’s important to understand that this process involves managing two separate home loans – one in New Zealand and another in Australia.

  • Refinancing in New Zealand: To release equity, you’ll need to refinance your existing mortgage in New Zealand.

    Our services, under the Australian credit licence (ACL), do not extend to dealing with New Zealand finance providers. Therefore, you will need to consult directly with your bank or a local mortgage broker in New Zealand for this part of the process.

  • Purchasing in Australia: The equity you release from your NZ property can be used as a deposit for purchasing a property in Australia. Here are the typical borrowing limits:

    It’s possible to borrow more through specialist lenders, albeit at slightly higher interest rates.

Apply For An Australian Mortgage!

We are mortgage brokers who specialise in NZ citizen home loans and are passionate about guiding you through the Australian mortgage process with ease.

We know which banks can accept your application and which offer the best interest rates for non-residents.

If you would like to buy a property in Australia, please call us on +61 2 9194 1700, if you’re overseas, or at 1300 889 743 if you’re in Australia.

You can also complete our free assessment form wherever you are in the world, and one of our specialist brokers will get back to you.