Foreigners or non-residents of Australia who wish to purchase a property in Australia usually have to first obtain approval from the Foreign Investment Review Board (FIRB) prior to purchasing a property and taking out a mortgage.
We ensure that you get your property faster without the stress and hassle by guaranteeing that our developments are already FIRB approved.
We have a huge range of real estate available for sale Australia wide, so whether you're looking for a house, townhouse or apartment in the city or on the beach, we'll have something to suit your needs.
Foreign Purchasers: FIRB Approval
Foreign purchasers intending to acquire real estate in Australia must first seek prior approval from the Government through the Foreign Investment Review Board (FIRB) unless specifically exempted by the Foreign Acquisitions and Takeovers Regulations. We strongly recommend that you visit the FIRB website on www.firb.gov.au for more information and seek professional advice, where appropriate.
All contracts by 'foreign persons' to acquire interests in Australian real estate must be made conditional upon foreign investment approval, unless approval was obtained prior to entering into the contract. For properties to be purchased at auction, prior foreign investment approval must still be obtained and advice provided whether the parties were successful or not, and if so, a copy of the signed contract forwarded to the Foreign Investment Review Board (FIRB) after the auction.
The properties offered by One World Group to international clients have already been approved by the FIRB, thus saving you time, stress and hassle, but please do not hesitate to speak to one of our property advisors at One World for more information.
Buying a property from a developer
Apartments or townhouses in a proposed development, or in a development which has just been completed but has not yet been occupied or sold, can be sold to foreign investors as long as the developer applies in advance for this to be allowed. If a foreign citizen buys a property in this way (often called 'buying off the plan'), the property, when built, can be rented out, sold or used by the purchaser. However, foreign interests cannot hold more than half the apartments or townhouses in any one development.
You should ask to see a copy of the developer's approval letter to ensure that FIRB approval exists for sales to foreign citizens.
You should also be aware that, on purchase of any apartment, new or old, you are liable to pay regular levies (payable weekly, monthly, quarterly or annually) to cover the costs of the property and grounds that all the residents use. A group known as the body corporate, made up usually of your fellow owners, is responsible for collecting levies for two funds, called an Administration Fund and a Sinking Fund. These funds go towards servicing the lifts, repainting the building, lighting the hallways - the various maintenance jobs that benefit all residents. If you are buying into an apartment block with, for example, a gym, swimming pool, rooftop tennis court and so on, levies will be comparatively high.
If you are planning to buy an apartment, your legal representative will need to make a Strata Records Inspection. This will outline how much the levies are at the time of purchase. Such an inspection will also tell you the rules governing use of common facilities, whether or not pets are permitted as so forth.
Purchasing within a resort
If the Australian Treasurer nominates that a particular resort is an Integrated Tourism Resort, then both residences and vacant land can be purchased within that resort by anybody without any FIRB assessment taking place. The seller of any such property would make this status known to all prospective purchasers.
To be considered an Integrated Tourism Resort, a place must fulfil certain conditions, such as covering at least 50 hectares of land within defined boundaries, have extensive recreational facilities, and so forth.
Commercial real estate
FIRB approval must be sought by any foreign individual or company which wants to purchase existing commercial and non-residential real estate valued at $5 million or more. They are normally approved unless considered 'contrary to the national interest'.
If the commercial and/or non-residential real estate in question does not yet exist but is at the development or major redevelopment stage, permission to purchase is usually given, unless the purchase is considered 'contrary to the national interest'.
Construction must start within a specified period of time.
Here we have summarised the types of properties you are able to purchase depending on your residential status:
Australian citizens or permanent residents
- No restrictions on the type of property you can purchase
Temporary Resident, Retiree or Student
- Can buy new property without restriction
- Can buy an established property, provided it is your residence and it is sold when your visa expires.
Foreign Investors must have possessed a valid temporary residency visa to stay in Australia for a period exceeding 12 months at the time of the application in order to be eligible to acquire established residential real estate in Australia. Other requirements include:
- Consent of the FIRB is required
Foreign national or foreign corporation
- Can buy new property
- Can buy vacant land as long as building commences within 12 months of purchase
- Can buy an established property only if an additional amount of no less than 50% of the original property cost is spent on improvements or additional construction
- Can buy up to 50% of new projects or apartments
- Can buy commercial property, but some rules apply
- Consent of the FIRB is required
If you wish to speak to one of our friendly and knowledgeable property consultants or require additional information on FIRB laws in your particular case, please click here or email firstname.lastname@example.org