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Overseas Buyers:

What is the Government Policy on Foreign Investment?

Who does not require Government approval?

Do I need Government approval to buy real estate in Australia?

What is a foreign interest?

What type of property can foreign investors buy?

Other situations where FIRB approval is normally given

How may recent changes to FIRB foreign investment policies affect me?


We specialise in helping overseas buyers find their dream home or investment property in Australia. We understand the local market and have access to all new and “hidden” listings that may be suitable for you. We can show you the suburbs that have the best lifestyle, schools, capital gains potential or whatever features you are looking for.

Just tell us what you are looking for and we will start searching for the ideal property to meet your needs. For a detailed schedule of fees that best suits your personal requirements or to arrange a FREE consultation, please contact us on 1300 885 095 (int'l +61 7 5309 3995) or complete our Client Profile and we will be in touch with you within 24 hours.

 

Reasons why property in Australia is a good investment:

  • Excellent, temperate climate, with an amazing average 3,000 hours of sunshine per year
  • Unspoilt beaches, tropical rainforest, rugged mountains, deserts and sun-baked horizons
  • Stable both economically and politically
  • GDP on par with most European countries
  • English is the national language and legal and business environment based on the British system
  • Well established legal and property buying process
  • High capital returns in key investment areas
  • Fantastic, healthy lifestyle with abundance of outdoor pursuits, eg. fishing, cycling, jogging, bushwalking and more
  • High rental demand due to current high property prices
  • Interest only mortgages on offer for 5 or even 10 year periods
  • Population growth and rising incomes ensure the demand for housing outpaces supply, causing prices to rise.
  • Regulated investment markets that are transparent and low risk
  • Favourable Sterling exchange rate (typically 1 GBP = 1.7 AU$)
  • Homebuyers in Australia



Foreign property purchasers in Australia are traditionally those who look to emigrate to Australia in search of a new lifestyle. Migration of Britons to areas such as Perth has soared over the last two years, while one third of immigrants originate from the British Isles.
The job market in Australia is positive for Britons, further encouraging the influx of new arrivals. Immigrants look to supply a wide skills shortage that has hit Australia, due to a low birthrate and an ageing population. The Australian government welcomes immigration from professionals such as accountants, IT specialists, chefs, medical professionals, welders, plasterers and hairdressers.

Many local homebuyers are currently priced out of their own marketplace due to high interest rates and soaring house prices. Yet demand for housing priced at over one million dollars is very intense, creating a particular niche market where interest rate rises do not affect this wealth bracket. Meanwhile there remains an increasing demand for housing in Australia and this factor creates great investment potential for buy-to-let purchasers in Australian real estate today.

 

Australia Property Hotspots

Properties located in the major Australian cities and coastal homes valued well above AUD 1-2 million are high in demand and remain least affected by negative economic effects on the Australian property market in general today. Western Australia, in and around the city of Perth, is targeted as a property hotspot and many immigrants are considering this thriving and well served city as an alternative option to previous years when today’s overpriced Sydney was their chosen destination. Other rising markets in Australia are currently to be found in Darwin and parts of north Queensland.

As in all countries, due to the fact that there is only a finite supply of coastal property and the majority of Australia’s circa 20.3 million citizens inhabit areas concentrated around the coast, seaside real estate in Australia will invariably offer positive long term investment opportunity.

 


Government Policy on Foreign Investment

The Australian Government encourages foreign investment that is consistent with community interests. The Government recognises the significant contribution that foreign investment has made and continues to make to the development of Australia. Foreign investment provides scope for higher rates of economic activity and employment than could be achieved from domestic levels of savings. Foreign direct investment also provides access to new technology, management skills and overseas markets.

The largest number of foreign investment proposals in Australia involves the purchase of real estate. The Government seeks to ensure that foreign investment in residential real estate increases the supply of residences and is not speculative in nature. The Government's foreign investment policy aims to directly increase the supply of new housing (ie, new developments - house and land, home units, townhouses, etc) and brings benefits to the local building industry and their suppliers.


Who does not require Government approval?

  • Australian citizens, residing in Australia or abroad;
  • Holders of Australian permanent resident visas;
  • Persons entitled to hold a special category visa, for example, New Zealand citizens; and
  • Australian citizens and their foreign spouse when purchasing residential real estate in joint names as joint tenants.

Do I need Government approval to buy real estate in Australia?

You may need to apply for foreign investment approval if you are a foreign interest who is:

  • purchasing residential real estate (includes established or new residential property, vacant land and hobby farms);
  • purchasing rural land;
  • purchasing developed commercial real estate;
  • making an application for designation as an Integrated Tourism Resort or Strata Titled Hotel;
  • purchasing vacant commercial real estate for development;
  • acquiring shares, business assets or dealing with some other interest in an existing company;
  • creating a new business or project;
  • dealing with some other form of interest;

A foreign interest is defined as:

  • a natural person not ordinarily resident in Australia;
  • a corporation in which a natural person not ordinarily resident in Australia or a foreign corporation holds a controlling interest;
  • a corporation in which 2 or more persons, each of whom is either a natural person not ordinarily resident in Australia or a foreign corporation, hold an aggregate controlling interest;
  • the trustee of a trust estate in which a natural person not ordinarily resident in Australia or a foreign corporation holds a substantial interest; or
  • the trustee of a trust estate in which 2 or more persons, each of whom is either a natural person not ordinarily resident in Australia or a foreign corporation, hold an aggregate substantial interest.

What type of property can foreign investors buy?

Vacant Land
Subject to an investor commencing construction within 12 months of FIRB approval.
Second-hand dwelling
Purchases of second hand dwellings by foreign persons are restricted to temporary residents with visas (more than 12 months) or investors making the dwelling their principal place of residence.
New dwellings
Ownership is restricted to no more than 50 per cent of the dwellings in a development being sold to foreign interests. For single dwellings, a developer must have another dwelling that is similar in construction and proximity.
Commercial
Purchase of commercial property is normally approved unless it is contrary to the national interest. This is determined by the Government on a case by case basis.


Other situations where FIRB approval is normally given includes:

  1. Foreign companies buying residences in Australia for their senior executives
  2. Foreign nationals temporarily resident in Australia for more than 12 months buying for their own use as a principal place of residence subject to the sale of the property when they cease to reside in Australia.
  3. Foreign nationals purchasing residential real estate as joint tenant with an Australian spouse.

Further details are available on the Foreign Investment Review Board website:
http://www.firb.gov.au