Living in the Land Down Under: Buying Houses in Australia as a Foreigner

There are some restrictions if a foreign national wants to purchase real estate in Australia. The Basic Act related to this was enacted in 1975. It states that any Australian house purchased by a foreigner needs to be approved by the government. This approval letter should be obtained before the sales contract is signed. This implies that the approval cannot be granted to a transaction that has already taken place.

How the Approval Should Be Obtained

The address for the house for sale should be given to the board in advance. The approval can either be granted or denied depending on individual circumstances. Any foreigner who has made a purchase without this kind of approval should cancel their contract if possible. If that is not possible, then he should sell the property immediately to a local citizen.

Buying a Ready-made Home

You should have resided for at least one year in the country if you want buy an existing home. Only such foreigners can seek approval to buy property and be granted permission after the approval by the Foreign Investment Review Board. Overseas companies can also buy homes for their executives to reside in for more than a year with this kind of permission. Another rule that prevails is that in any housing development, only 50 percent of the residences can be owned by foreigners. This rule applies for both new projects and the redeveloped ones.

Building a New Home

The Act encourages the purchase of land by foreigners, especially if the home construction will begin in one year. The home construction should continue without any interruptions. These approvals are granted within a month. But, in most cases, these builders will not be able to avail of any local concessions or grants which are sometimes offered to new home builders.

Since these laws change often, if you are a foreigner, then it is best that you learn the latest prevailing laws before you invest in the country.