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Mortgages For Australians Living In The US

Can Australian expats living in the United States of America (US) get a home loan or mortgage?

With the Australian dollar falling, you may have thought about buying an investment property in Australia’s strong real estate market.

The good news is that Australian citizens living in the US can qualify for a home loan in Australia. In fact, they’re one of the most common expats that Australian banks deal with.

How much can you borrow?

As long as you meet all standard lending requirements, Australian expats in the US can borrow up to:

  • 80% of the property value: You’ll limited to borrowing up to this Loan to Value Ratio (LVR) if you can’t provide acceptable documents to foreign income.
  • 90% of the property value: You may be able to borrow up to 90% of the property value or more if you’re an Australian permanent resident living overseas. A strong financial position is needed.
  • 95% of the property value: You may be in a position to borrow up to 95% as long as you’re in a good financial position, have a high income and have stable employment. Australians with dual citizenship and Australian expats living overseas who are married to a foreign citizen are eligible.

Speak to one of our mortgage brokers by calling 1300 889 743 (+61 2 9194 1700 from outside of Australia) or completing our free assessment form today.

Are you actually an Australian expat?

Australian expatriates (expats) are essentially non-resident Australian citizens and they are permitted to buy property in Australia even if they live in the United States.

Around 2,000 – 3,000 migrate to the US every year via the US government’s E-3 visa. This visa was introduced after the Australia-United States Free Trade Agreement (AUSFTA) was established in 2005.

Many Australian expats residing in the US choose to buy property back home to take advantage of the exchange rate and the rising Australian property market, which far outstrips the United States.

Where can Australian expats learn more about the Australian property market?

If you’ve been out of the country for a while and aren’t sure how the Australian market is looking right now, check out these websites for real estate listings, useful investor tools and information:

Will the bank accept US dollars?

Did you know that Australian expats earning US dollars (USD) are one of the most common types of non-resident applicants that Australian lenders assess?

If you earn your income in USD, there is a good chance that we can get you approved for an Australian mortgage!

Check out the Australian Expat Mortgages for other types of currency that lenders will either accept or consider.

How will the bank assess my US income?

When assessing your home loan application, most lenders will assess your income as if you were residing in Australia.

Australian expats will just need to provide:

The best part is that since these financial statements are in English, it’ll make the lender’s job a lot easier meaning a higher chance of approval.

What if I’m a contractor?

Thousands of Australians migrate to the US to apply their skills, knowledge and experience in a variety of fields including engineering, information technology (IT) and science. As a result, many find contract job opportunities with major firms and businesses.

Since you’re not permanent full time, can an Australian expatriate still qualify for a mortgage in Australia? Yes!

Generally speaking, Australian expats working as contractors will be asked to show evidence of their current income and future employment prospects with a letter from their employer.

To make it easier for yourself, you can provide your US employer with this template that most Australian banks will accept. If you can also provide payslips and tax returns with your application it will help our mortgage brokers build a strong case with a wider range of lenders.

Complete our free assessment form and explain your situation so we can help you get a approved for a home loan as an Australian expat.

Can I get the same interest rates as an Australian citizen?

Yes, Australians living in the US can get the same interest rates as Australian residents.

Some lenders may not offer you the same interest discounts but we’re often in a strong position to negotiate a discount that’s way below the Bank Standard Variable (BSV) rate.

The only exception in qualifying for a low interest rate is if you can’t prove your foreign income.

Are you restricted to buying a new property?

Australians living in the US can actually buy a new property, an existing property or vacant land.

In addition to this, you can live in the property or it can be for investment purposes.

The same rule applies if you’re a permanent resident residing in the United States: you’ll be treated the same as if you were living and working in Australia!

Do you need government approval?

Foreign Investment Review Board (FIRB) approval isn’t required, even if you’re buying with a spouse who isn’t an Australian citizen or you’re a permanent resident.

How will I be taxed?

Did you know that you may still be treated as a non-resident for Australian tax purposes even though you’re simply one of many Australians living in the US. It’s true!

Even though we may be able to Australians living in the US get approved for a mortgage, it’s a different story with tax law Down Under.

It’s essential you speak to your accountant before you make the decision to buy or invest in property in Australia.

There a number of tests that the Australian Taxation Office (ATO) undertake to work out if you’re an Australian resident or a non-resident for tax purposes. This includes whether you’ve been physically living in Australia for more than half of the financial year and if your ‘domicile’ remains in Australia and you don’t have a permanent residence overseas.

Commonwealth Government employees who work overseas such as government diplomats and armed forces personnel are also a member of the Commonwealth Superannuation scheme so they will likely be taxed as a resident of Australia.

Generally speaking, income and capital gains that Australian residents (for tax purposes) earn anywhere in the world is subject to Australian tax law. For expats considered to be non-residents for tax purposes, your Australian-sourced income and capital gains on Australian property are taxable in Australia.

Doesn’t the US and Australia have a Double Taxation Agreement (DTA) in place?

Yes, which means that you won’t incur capital gains tax (CGT) in the US for any capital gain you make on a property you sell in Australia. Under the treaty, the ATO will also generally provide a foreign income tax offset on any US tax paid on the same income or capital gain.

Disclaimer: The above information is to be taken as general tax information only and does not constitute financial advice. Australian and international tax law is subject to change so you should speak to a financial professional before making any financial decision including the purchase of property in Australia.

Can I buy a commercial property?

Because Australian living in the US are in fact Australian citizens, you can actually buy commercial property as long as you meet all other lending requirements.

Some popular commercial properties that Australian expats living in the US consider purchasing include:

We’re specialists in mortgages for Australians living in the US!

Many of our customers are Australian citizens or dual citizens living in the US who want to invest in the Australian property market.

We will choose the right lender the first time around so you can avoid the headache of getting knocked back and having an unnecessary credit enquiry listed on your credit file. This can potentially prevent you building an investment portfolio with Australian real estate in the future.

Most of our services are free and we have almost 40 lenders to choose from including major Australian banks and lenders. Once we know we can get you approved with a few lenders, we’re in a position to negotiate significant mortgage discounts on your behalf.

Please call 1300 889 743 (+61 2 9194 1700 from outside of Australia) or complete our free assessment form to speak with one of our experienced mortgage brokers.

  • Iggy

    It’s stated that we need to be in a strong financial position to be able to borrow at 90% LVR. Can you be a bit more specific?

  • Hello Iggy,

    Even if you may be an Aussie expat currently living in the US, you can borrow at 90% LVR as long as you have stable employment (generally, 6 months in your current job or 2 years in the same line of work), your ability to pay the loan is strong and you have at least 5% of the purchase price in genuine savings. A clean credit history is also preferred. If you want to learn more on how to borrow at 90% LVR, you can check out the 90% home loan page:
    https://www.homeloanexperts.com.au/no-deposit-home-loans/90-percent-home-loan/

  • Phillip

    Dear sir,

    I am an Australian citizen and I have an E3 working visa to work in the United States in finance. I would like to get a home loan to purchase a residential property in Sydney. Could you let me know a few things:
    1. What do I need to provide? Just 3 months payslips or bank statement too?
    2. Do I need to provide a copy of my E3 visa? Yes or No?
    3. Will I be eligible for getting the same home loan interest rates as Australians working in Australia or will my rate by higher as I’m an Australian expat working overseas?
    4. What is the LTV or LVR that I can borrow up to?
    5. My annual income is US $120k. How much I can borrow?
    Thanks.

  • Hi Phillip, I hope you’re enjoying your time in the US.

    1. The more information the better. Due to a large number of fraudulent loans from foreign investors, the banks are very wary. I would recommend providing 4 payslips and 3 months’ bank statements.
    2. Yes, provide a copy of your Australian passport and your working visa.
    3. Yes, we can get you the same mortgage interest rates as Australians. Not all lenders do this, but we can likely get this for you.
    4. You can borrow up to 95% inclusive of LMI for an investment property. We can use up to 80% of your income as it is in USD.
    5. We’d need to do a full assessment. There are low priced lenders and there are a few that allow you to borrow more but have a higher rate. We can give you the options and then you can decide.

    You will need to visit the Australian consulate to complete the lender’s ID requirements. Please complete our free assessment form and we’ll give you a call to complete a full assessment:
    https://www.homeloanexperts.com.au/free-quote/

  • Brooke HH

    I’m Aussie but currently I’m living and working in the USA. I’d like to make a $2m purchase in NSW and I have close to a million USD as my deposit. I work in my own business now but in 2014 I was a PAYG earning almost US$ 500k a year. I turned self employed in 2015 and my tax returns only show $100k. Can I get an Australian mortgage with your help?

  • Hi Brooke, yes, we can help you with this. We have a few lenders in mind that can do self employed overseas. We can show your old PAYG income to make the deal stronger and also argue for exceptions. Please call us on our overseas number +61 2 9194 1700 to discuss it with one of our mortgage brokers who specialise in home loans for Aussies in the US.