Before you can consider purchasing a property in Australia you must be aware of the ownership restrictions for foreign buyers.
All is well if you are an Australian Citizen or Permanent Resident, there are no restrictions on your property ownership and it is business as usual. However, temporary residents and foreign investors are required to apply for FIRB (Foreign Investment Review Board) approval before they may own property in Australia.
If you have a temporary residency visa (such as a 457), you are permitted to purchase either an established property or a newly built property… but if it is an established property at time of purchase then you are required to sell it within 3 months of departing your residency in Australia. Also, you may only purchase a single established property, multiple purchases are not allowed.
Generally, should you wish to purchase either a newly built house, or vacant land with the intent to have a new house built, then you have more flexibility. In most cases temporary residents and foreign investors can buy new homes either to occupy themselves, or to hold as investments, and multiple properties can be purchased. There are further requirements around this and more information can be found at the FIRB website.
Another consideration is if your purchase needs FIRB permission, then it is also expected that your property will be occupied for a minimum of 6 months each year. This can either be by occupation yourself, or it can be rented. If the property is not occupied then an annual vacancy charge is liable, and this is equivalent to the application fee for FIRB approval, currently around $5500 for a typical residence. This is new legislation that was introduced in the 2017 budget and is applicable to purchases made after 9 May 2017.
It is possible to apply for FIRB approval prior to your property search, or you can make your offer to purchase subject to FIRB approval. FIRB approval must be obtained before acquiring ownership of the property.
Q– Can we still buy on a temporary Visa?
A – Yes! Providing you have FIRB approval you could possibly even be eligible for finance up to 90% of your purchase price. There are many factors that will determine this so do ask what this means for you 🙂
Please feel free to ask me any questions and let me know if I can assist you in this journey!