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Can a foreigner buy a property in Australia?

Is a foreign investment welcome in the Australian property market? The simple answer is yes. Foreigners residing in and out of Australia may buy a property in Australia. However, there are a few caveats you should be aware of. 

One is that the property must be an investment, a stipulation that makes sense. Foreign investments in the local property market are very much welcome but owning a residential property doesn’t make much sense.

Another is that you need to get the Australian government’s approval to do so. 

The Australian government mandates the Foreign Investment Review Board (FIRB) to review all investment applications from foreigners. 

What are the requirements to invest in a property in Australia?

First, the FIRB will assess your eligibility after submitting an application for a foreign investment. Once approved, you may now buy:

  1. A new property or an empty lot where a property can be built; and
  2. A property that is not an established dwelling. 

Depending on the property type and purchase price, the FIRB will charge you an application fee. It can range from $5,000 to $100,000. As of April 2022, the fee estimator on the FIRB website is down, awaiting updates on the new legislation. But in past cases, a $1 million property will cause you around $6,000 in application fees. 

After you pay all the application fees and other charges, you also need to pay a Foreign Citizen Stamp Duty. Every state charges different rates on stamp duty. 

Additional notes on foreign investment

If you are on a temporary visa, student visa, work visa, or temporary skills shortage visa, you may apply to the FIRB. Even if you are staying in Australia, you are still a foreigner. 

The FIRB requires all foreigners to go through their process. This is unless you are buying a property together with an Australian spouse through a joint tenant agreement. Australia gives more relaxed requirements to Kiwi nationals temporarily residing in the country.

If you qualify under the FIRB and are interested to invest on a few properties in Australia under a mortgage, we can help.