International buyers

Australia’s investment rules provide a range of opportunities for foreign interests seeking to purchase property in Australia.

Approval to purchase a residential property is normally granted to:

1. Foreign companies buying residences in Australia for their senior executives.

2. Foreign nationals temporarily resident in Australia for more than 12 months buying for their own use as a principal place of residence (subject to the sale of the property when they cease to reside in Australia).

3. Foreign nationals purchasing residential real estate as joint tenant with an Australian spouse. Foreign interests are also usually given approval to buy vacant residential land on condition that construction of a dwelling is to commence within 12 months. Approval will also usually be granted to buy home units and townhouses off the plan, under construction or newly constructed (but never occupied), on condition that no more than half of the units in any one development are sold to foreign interests. Australian citizens living abroad who are holders of permanent visas or entitled to hold a ‘special category’ visa are exempt from examination under foreign investment rules.

Definition of Foreign Investment A foreign interest is briefly described as:

1. A person not ordinarily resident in Australia

2. A corporation, business or trust in which a foreigner and any associates have 15% or more ownership or in which several foreigners have 40% or more aggregate of the ownership.

There are various forms of investment and proposals with regard to foreign investment in Australian real estate. These include:

1. Acquisition of developed commercial real estate valued at AUD$5 million or more.

2. Acquisition of urban real estate – irrespective of size.

3. Acquisition of urban real estate – irrespective of size – unless exempt under regulations. Commercial Property Proposed acquisitions of commercial development are normally approved unless it is contrary to the national interest. This is determined by the Government on a case by case basis. For further information, click here to view the Foreign Investment Review Board web site.