Frequently asked Questions – Australia
How easy is it to buy property in Australia?
The policy of the Government of the Commonwealth of Australia in regards to residential real estate is an inward-looking and conservative one, to say the least. It applies to to the areas covered by The Property Finders in Australia – Queensland, including Brisbane, the Gold Coast and Surfers Paradise. Acquisition of residential real estate by foreign nationals and corporations is subject to Foreign Investment Review Board (FIRB) approval. FIRB approval is not required by Australian citizens resident abroad, or for acquisitions in residential-zoned properties by New Zealand citizens, or by foreign nationals purchasing with their Australian spouse as joint tenant.
Foreign investment gets priority in areas that would directly increase housing stock, in other words, new property. The wariness of the government on foreign influx in developed residential real estate stems from a desire to avoid excess demand, create greater stability of housing prices as well as encourage the supply of new dwellings that would benefit Australians, whether through ownership or lease.
Buying property involves the following steps:
- The seller must secure a title search, plans, easements and covenants recorded in title from the Land and Property Information department. These documents must be attached to the Contract of Sale.
- The seller should also secure a Zoning Certificate from the Municipal Council as well as Drainage Diagram from the Local Water Authority.
- The solicitor or conveyancer for the buyer must then prepare a transfer form (given that there are no outstanding interests in the property) for execution of the sale.
- The contract and transfer form must then be sent to the Office of State Revenue, where it is stamped and duties settled.
- The transfer form and certificate of title are then sent to the Land and Property Information Department for registration.
But it is easier than it seems and The Property Finders can help you every step of the way.
What are the costs of buying a property in Australia?
There are many costs and expenses involved in any real estate transaction. It is important that you are aware of all these costs so that you can budget for them. It can be disastrous if you do not prepare for all possible expenditure.
This is an overview of the expenses you can generally expect in buying a property:
- Fees and charges payable for obtaining any loan (mortgage);
- Stamp duty;
- Registration fees (paid to the Lands Titles Office);
- Land title search costs;
- Rates and Taxes for the period that you will own the property; and
- Conveyancing fees and minor costs.
There may be other expenses in specific transactions. The Property finders can put you in touch with a conveyancer for details of anything which may arise in your particular purchase.
Can I buy a property in Australia, and if I do, will it entitle me to Australian residency?
It is possible for you to buy property in Australia but you will first need to gain permission from the Foreign Investment Review Board (FIRB). Once the application is made the FIRB will normally give an answer within 40 days although it is permitted to allow up to 130 days. You may still start your property search and even proceed to exchange of contracts before receiving the above approval but it is imperative to make sure that the contract drawn up is conditional on receipt of the approval.
Can I purchase residential property in Australia if I do not have a temporary residency visa?
Yes, but all acquisitions of residential real estate by foreign persons must be approved by The Foreign Investment Review Board. The Property Finders can help you through this process.
I’m a foreign non-resident and my spouse is an Australian permanent resident. If we’re buying a house together, do I require approval?
Yes. Even though your spouse doesn’t require approval, you still require approval.
I live in Australia and my relatives not living in Australia wish to buy a property in Australia. Can they get the approval to buy?
Yes, but only to buy a new property or vacant land – they cannot purchase an existing or second-hand property, unless for redevelopment.
I live in Denmark. Can I purchase a second-hand residential property with the intention of demolishing it and building a new house?
Yes with approval. Foreign non‑residents need to seek approval to buy established dwellings for redevelopment.
8. Immigrants to Australia – Where Have They Come From?
The United Kingdom tops the list of arrivals, with 123,600 arriving in the last 5 years, continuing to represent around 15% of Australia’s migration intake. The UK is closely followed by India (114,000) and China (111,000), then it’s a long way back to the next two countries, the Philippines (43,000) and South Africa (41,000).