Australia Risks

Can foreigners buy real estate in Australia

Real estates in Australia are a good investment of your financial means. If you live in Australia permanently, which means that you have a visa of a permanent resident, or if you are an Australian citizen, you face no restrictions, consequently you can buy whatever you want. If you have a temporary visa (job, educational, tourism or any other) or you have no Australian visa, and you do not even want to receive it, you can learn about some of the rules concerning purchase of real estate by foreigners in Australia here.

Can foreigners buy real estate in Australia

The first thing that you should know is that buying real estate in Australia (houses, apartments, land and other property) does not provide you with the right to count on permanent resident status in this country and certainly not immediately makes you a citizen of Australia. The same condition applies to the issuance of a temporary visa, so buying real estate in Australia without coming to Australia, means that you can not receive tourist visa.

This information is useful for temporary visa holders, as well as foreigners who are not connected with Australia in any way. For example, they live in Europe or America, and plan to invest some money in buying real estate in Australia. All of the above mentioned categories will have to apply for permission from the Foreign Investment Review Board or, simply, FIRB.

Basic points of FIRB

  • Foreigners have the opportunity to buy the land by sending request and subsequently receiving permission from Australian government (from FIRB mandatory), provided that the construction on the purchased plot will begin within 24 months from the date of purchase;
  • Foreigners can buy existing residence for redevelopment, which means existing real estate with intentions of restructuring. Restructuring implies any fundamental repairs, which require investing thousands of dollars. FIRB permit is mandatory. At the same time during the redevelopment no one should live in the acquired real estate;
  • Foreigners have the right to buy a brand new home or new development by means of the application and FIRB permit;
  • Foreigners who are non-temporary residents, can only buy a brand new property or to sell the land, again with FIRB permit. No already existing property is included;
  • Foreigners who are temporary residents and live in Australia for more than 12 months can buy already built property, in which someone lived or lives at the moment. At the same time there are some conditions: the property must be purchased for residential purposes and not for renting ones. The scheme is the same – through the application and FIRB permit.

All exceptions are to be found on the official websites.

Let’s consider another important points. If you are the owner of the temporary visa and have lived in Australia for more than 12 months and purchase second-hand or existing dwelling, then please note that any termination of your visa (if of course you have not received permanent residency – in this case, you are free to do with your property whatever you want) before returning home obliges you to sell your property. In other words, it’s impossible to own property in Australia and rent it, but live in another country.

If you purchased a new home, the ownership of it is all yours, and you can rent it even if you leave Australia. So your property can start providing you with income.

When you send the application to FIRB you must specify what property and where exactly (precise address) you want to buy.

Do not sign a contract of purchasing real estate in Australia without getting permission from FIRB, otherwise you will have to sell the property or terminate the contract. There are fines and other preventive actions for those who do not adhere to the rules of FIRB.

Your application to FIRB will be considered during 30 days. For more details it is reasonable to contact the officials directly.


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