Information For Foreign Investors

Foreign Investors

Foreign investors (non-residents) intending to buy real estate in Australia have relatively open access to the Australian property market and mortgage finance.

Before buying a property, foreign investors will need to seek approval from the Foreign Investment Review Board (F.I.R.B). The application and approval process are not complicated and provided the property you are purchasing falls within the criteria, approval is usually granted within 30-40 days. Ordinarily foreign investors can enter into a contract to purchase property subject to F.I.R.B approval.

We recommend that you visit the F.I.R.B website or seek legal advice.

What properties can Foreign Investors purchase?

To promote the development of new dwellings in Australia, foreign investors are restricted to purchasing:

New homes, units, apartments & townhouses. These can be either off the plan, under construction or recently completed. But cannot be previously occupied or sold
Real estate for residential redevelopment, where construction must begin within 12 months
Developed commercial real estate is not subject to the same rules as residential property and can be purchased whether it has been previously sold or occupied and is only subject to F.I.R.B approval
Purchasing an apartment which is managed through an apartment hotel (Cairns Central Plaza, Gladstone Central Plaza, Toowoomba Central Plaza) the property is defined as developed commercial real estate by F.I.R.B (financial institutes and brokers will still define as residential property)

For more information and to apply visit:

Residential real estate click here.

Commercial real estate click here.

Obtaining Finance in Australia

Most of the major financial institutions in Australia will lend to non-residents wanting to buy an investment property. Generally non-residents do not need to come to Australia to obtain a loan to buy an investment property. Most financial institutions will lend between 70%- 80% of the value of the property.

Applications for mortgage finance can be made directly to a bank or alternatively, your loan application can be made via a mortgage broker or broker network. You may be able to borrow in a foreign currency but the Australian dollar is the most popular currency. Your financial institution or broker will be able to provide you with a full list of documentation and help you through the process of organising your investment property loan.

Associated Acquisition Costs

These costs ordinarily include the costs of retaining a solicitor, carrying out necessary property searches, and stamp duty payable. Stamp duty is assessed on the basis of the contract amount.

Australian Taxation Office

Foreign Investors may be liable to pay tax in Australia and need to declare income from an investment property in an Australian tax return. For more information click here.

Obtaining Legal

Foreign Investors are encouraged to seek legal advice before entering into a contract for the purchase. Solicitors will be able to assist you with legal transfer of the property and arranging F.I.R.B approval.

Help Desk

Australia has established a dedicated help desk to assist Singaporean investors with direct investment applications to acquire existing Australian businesses or establish new businesses, including purchases of property as an integral part of the business. For more information click here.