Restrictions and Grants

Find out about the regulations governing the purchase of property in Australia...

There are no restrictions on buying a home in Australia for Australian and New Zealand citizens, holders of permanent resident visas (including new migrants), and a foreigner purchasing a home with a spouse who's an Australian citizen. However, unlike in many countries, where foreigners may buy property without any restrictions, Australia has strict regulations governing the purchase of real estate by non-residents. In many cases, foreigners must obtain approval from the Foreign Investment Review Board (FIRB), before they may buy real estate.

  • FRIB - Treasury
    : Langton Crescent, Parkes, ACT 2600
    Tel: 02 6263 3795
    Fax: 02 6263 2940

Foreigners with a temporary residence no longer require FIRB approval when buying:

  • An established dwelling (not new) for their own residence
  • A new dwelling
  • A single block of vacant residential land (other acquisitions of vacant land will require notification and will normally be approved subject to development within 24 months)

Failure to obtain FIRB approval or meet FIRB requirements is a serious offence and can lead to prosecution and the possibility that you'll be unable to obtain a visa to visit or live in Australia in the future. In some cases, entry into Australia is refused.

Most non-residents need FIRB approval to buy real estate in Australia and should obtain approval before committing themselves to a purchase. You may exchange contracts before you obtain permission, but one of the conditional clauses in the contract must state that the purchase is subject to FIRB approval.

You must complete form R3 (available from the FIRB directly and downloadable from the website listed above) and send it by post or fax (see above) together with the appropriate documentation, e.g. copy of passport, visa and guides from the contract of sale. The FIRB is required to make a decision within 30 days of the application and to convey this to the interested parties within a further ten days.

First-time Buyers

A First Home Owner Grant (FHOG) of $7,000 was introduced in Australia on 1st July 2000.

In addition to the FHOG, there are a number of state based first home buyer benefits, which include grants and stamp duty concessions.

Migrants with permanent residency (including New Zealanders) are also eligible for the grants.

Extract from Living and Working in Australia (7th Edition - 2010) David Hampshire (Available as eBook or order from Amazon) Published by Survival Books Ltd, Survival Books Copyright © Survival Books Ltd All Rights Reserved