Posted 04 Nov 16

Buying property as a foreigner

Buying property as a foreigner or temporary resident

Australian property is extremely attractive for local and foreign buyers alike, however, buying a residential property in Australia if you are a foreign citizen or temporary is complex, expensive and heavily regulated. There are hefty penalties for breaching the rules. Belle Property agents are well-versed in the relevant laws and rules and are ready to make this process as streamlined as possible for you.
There were substantial changes made to the rules surrounding foreign investment in December 2015. These new regulations were made in response to fears that overseas buyers were driving up prices and pushing Australian first home buyers out of the market. The overriding aim of the new rules is to ensure that each purchase by a foreigner works to the benefit of the wider community.

How Belle Property can help you buy an Australian property

Only particular types of property are available to foreign buyers. Your Belle Property agent will help you find a property that is compliant with the regulations. The system is not simple to understand but in general, no established residential property can be bought by an overseas based or temporary resident individual, even if in partnership with a local.
All property purchases have to be approved by the Foreign Investment Review Board (FIRB). No agreements or contracts can be made prior to receiving this approval. So if you make an offer on a property, it must be clear that this offer is contingent on approval being granted. An approval is always only for one specified property. There is no general approval. Each application costs $5,000 for a property under $1 million, and $10,000 for a property over $1 million, increasing by $10,000 for each additional $1 million. This is why you need a specialist agent to find properties that are likely to be granted approval.
The kind of purchases that are likely to be allowed are those where a buyer intends to live in the residence full time. Holiday homes or weekenders are not allowed. A property acquired with this permission must be sold when the resident departs permanently. The Foreign Investment Review Board will not allow foreign citizens to buy properties for the purpose of renting them out, or to speculate on rising property values.
Exceptions to these rules are made for purchases that will increase the housing stock available to the community. So buying new apartments off-the-plan, or redeveloping non-residential buildings into homes might be allowed without restrictions on renting, as might building on vacant land.

Why choose Belle Property?

Owning an Australian property is highly desirable to many overseas buyers. The regulatory environment however is far from simple and also subject to change. You will need legal advice to ensure you fulfil all the regulations and requirements. Your expert Belle Property agent will be your trusted partner in this journey and help you achieve your goals.