Buying Australian Real Estate when on a temporary visa
If you are looking to purchase a property, holding a Permanent Residence (PR) removes the need to go through the Foreign Investment Review Board (www.firb.gov.au) for approval. The website states that:
“Foreign persons are prohibited from acquiring established dwellings for investment purposes (that is, they cannot be purchased to be used as a rental or holiday property), irrespective of whether they are temporary residents in Australia or not.
However, temporary residents can apply to purchase one established dwelling to use as their residence in Australia. Approval is usually provided subject to a condition that the temporary resident sells the dwelling when it ceases to be their residence”
This means that foreign buyers can continue to purchase established residential real estate subject to:
- Holding a Temporary Resident’s Visa.
- Living in the dwelling.
- Listing it for sale within three months of leaving the country.
You also need to be aware of the conditions that come into effect when your visa expires or when you leave the country.
Ensure the likelihood of purchase approval, before you start looking for a property. The reality is that having the FIRB involved in a purchase offer complicates the buying process and as a result, your offer will appear less attractive than an offer that does not require FIRB approval.
The second issue that arrives is how to pay for the property.
Though you may be able to obtain finance from a local financial institution (bank or credit society) it is possible that it will become more difficult, so you should consider attaining funds, for example through family, in order to make a cash offer. Please note that when buying property, there are additional fees and charges that need to be paid at settlement and you should therefore discuss this with your settlement agent, as soon as your offer is accepted.
If you are considering obtaining finance, it is recommended to find a mortgage broker before you start looking for a property.
Readers should always seek their own independent advice prior to making any decisions regarding property or finances.
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