Can foreigners purchase residential property in Australia?

The Australian government has welcomed foreign investment on the grounds that it will assist economic growth and prosperity of Australia. Currently foreign buyers can apply to the Foreign Investment Review Board (the “Board”) for approval in certain circumstances.

Approval will only be granted if the buyers meet the criteria set by the board. Currently foreign buyers are able to apply to the Board for approval to purchase property as follows:

Established Dwellings

Temporary residents holding a temporary visa are able to apply to purchase second hand dwellings.
Non-resident foreigners cannot buy established dwellings under any circumstances.

New Dwellings

Temporary residents can buy new dwellings, being a residential property which has been purchased directly from the developer or has not been previously occupied for more than 12 months in total.
Non-resident foreigners can apply to the Board for approval to buy new dwellings.

Vacant Residential Land

Temporary residents are able to apply to buy residential vacant land, however the approval will be given subject to conditions regarding construction timeframes etc.
Non-resident foreigners can apply to the Board to purchase residential vacant land, however the approval will be given subject to conditions regarding construction timeframes etc.
In any of the above circumstances, application must be made to the Foreign Investment Review Board for approval.

 

Please note that it is an offence under the Foreign Acquisitions and Takeovers Act 1975 to sign a contract which is not subject to approval by the Board. That is an unconditional Contract. If the contract is not to be subject to the approval, you must apply to the Board prior to signing the contract.

Our office is able to assist in providing advice in relation to the requirements of foreign or temporary persons to purchase residential property in Australia. If you require any advice in relation to drafting or the reviewing of special conditions for approval from the Board, please contact our office without delay!