Can foreigners buy property in Australia? Yes, here’s how

Two women in a living room listening to music

Typically you need to be a permanent resident or citizen to buy property in Australia and many of the available home loans also require you to be Aussie. But don’t fret, foreigners can still buy: the property needs to be categorised as an investment and you need to get government approval.

Let’s take a closer look.

How to buy a property in Australia?

Firstly, as a foreigner you’ll need to submit an application to the Foreign Investment Review Board (FIRB), which is in charge of assessing foreigners who want to buy or invest in a home in Australia.

If you get approved for an investment property, there are a couple of things to keep in mind:

  • It must be a new property or vacant land to build a new property.
  • The investment property cannot be an established dwelling.

Now, if you do buy an establishment dwelling you are required to live in it and then sell it once you no longer live there.

Fees for foreigners buying property

The FIRB charges an application fee, an amount that depends on the value of the property you plan on buying. So this figure can vary but if you’re purchasing a property under $1m, you’d be looking at somewhere in the vicinity of a $6,000 fee, while a property priced at say, $3m is going to demand a fee of about $38,000. You need  to double check this before purchasing - the FIRB has some guidance on it.

There is also the Foreign Citizen Stamp Duty you have to pay on top of all the usual house buying fees. This particular stamp duty is an 8% surcharge in NSW, for example, that goes on top of your usual stamp duty (also called transfer duty). Each state sets its own stamp duty amount, so be sure to check this.

Aside from those extra bits, the process of buying a home and applying for a home loan is pretty much the same as if you were a local.

Can temporary residents buy property?

If you are on a temporary visa, such as a partnership visa, 457 work visa, a temporary skills shortage visa or a student visa, you’ll still need approval from the FIRB. This is because you are still classified as a foreigner when it comes to buying property and must follow the same criteria as above.

The only time you won’t need a FIRB approval to buy a house is if you’re in a joint tenant agreement with an Australian that you’re in a spousal relationship with.

If you’re a temporary resident from New Zealand, you don’t have to worry about all the extra rules other foreigners have to deal with. Kiwis nationals tend to be given the same rights as Aussie home buyers, however if you try to buy Australian property while outside of the country, you may need to pay the foreign citizen stamp duty.

Can I get Australian home loans?

Yes, but it’s not that easy. Many Australian lenders have strict rules that you must be an Aussie to use them as your home loan provider. And those who do lend to foreigners tend to impose tighter lending criteria like:

  • Asking for a higher interest rate than normal
  • Needing a larger deposit (around 30-40%)
  • Imposing restrictions on foreign income used to pay the loan
  • Having to obtain approval from the FIRB.

Don’t let this deter you though! There are plenty of options out there such as internationally recognised banks that operate in Australia that offer home loans like HSBC and Citibank.

If you are looking to buy a new home in Australia check out our home loan guides. Also check out below our low interest rate home loan comparison table to find a loan that works for you.

Home loan comparisons on Mozo - last updated 22 January 2022

Search promoted home loans below or do a full Mozo database search. Advertiser disclosure
  • Smart Home Loan
    interest rate
    comparison rate
    Initial monthly repayment
    2.99% p.a. variable
    3.01% p.a.

    A low-rate home loan that could save you thousands. No application or ongoing fees. Unlimited additional repayments. Unlimited free redraws with no minimum redraw amount, Limited time only.

    Details
  • Mozo Expert Choice Badge
    Fixed UHomeLoan
    interest rate
    comparison rate
    Initial monthly repayment
    2.14% p.a.
    fixed 1 year
    2.35% p.a.

    Lock in a great low home loan with UBank. Fast and easy online application. No monthly account fees.

    Details
  • Variable Home Loan
    interest rate
    comparison rate
    Initial monthly repayment
    2.29% p.a. variable
    2.29% p.a.

    Refinance only. Super-fast digital application process. Competitive low investment interest rate. Zero upfront fees. No on-going service fees. Free 100% offset sub account. Comes with Visa debit card and the ability to use digital wallets; Apple and Google Pay. 25% deposit required.

    Details
  • Mozo Expert Choice Badge
    Celebrate Variable Home Loan
    interest rate
    comparison rate
    Initial monthly repayment
    2.19% p.a. variable
    2.19% p.a.

    Enjoy zero fees and a speedy online application process. Free extra repayments and redraw facility. Flexible loan repayments. Minimum 20% deposit required. Winner of three Mozo's Experts Choice Awards for 2021.

    Details
  • Mozo Expert Choice Badge
    Well Balanced
    interest rate
    comparison rate
    Initial monthly repayment
    2.17% p.a. variable
    2.23% p.a.

    Zero ongoing fees and free extra repayments and redraw facility with an option for an offset account. Winner of the Offset Home Loan Expert's Choice Award for 2021.

    Details
  • Special Real Deal Home Loan
    interest rate
    comparison rate
    Initial monthly repayment
    2.49% p.a. variable
    2.53% p.a.

    Details
  • Mozo Expert Choice Badge
    UHomeLoan
    interest rate
    comparison rate
    Initial monthly repayment
    2.29% p.a.
    fixed 1 year
    2.36% p.a.

    Lock in a low home loan rate with the 2020 Home Lender Bank of the Year, UBank. UHomeLoan offers competitive rates for a range of fixed terms .

    Details
  • Mozo Expert Choice Badge
    Liberate Variable Home Loan
    interest rate
    comparison rate
    Initial monthly repayment
    1.99% p.a. variable
    1.93% p.a.

    Fast online application with no fees. Free extra repayments and redraw facility. Min 20% deposit. Athena automatically lowers the rate as the loan is paid down. Winner of three Mozo Expert's Choice Awards for 2021.

    Details

* WARNING: This comparison rate applies only to the example or examples given. Different amounts and terms will result in different comparison rates. Costs such as redraw fees or early repayment fees, and cost savings such as fee waivers, are not included in the comparison rate but may influence the cost of the loan. The comparison rate displayed is for a secured loan with monthly principal and interest repayments for $150,000 over 25 years.

** Initial monthly repayment figures are estimates only, based on the advertised rate, loan amount and term entered. Rates, fees and charges and therefore the total cost of the loan may vary depending on your loan amount, loan term, and credit history. Actual repayments will depend on your individual circumstances and interest rate changes.

^See information about the Mozo Experts Choice Home Loan Awards

Mozo provides general product information. We don't consider your personal objectives, financial situation or needs and we aren't recommending any specific product to you. You should make your own decision after reading the PDS or offer documentation, or seeking independent advice.

While we pride ourselves on covering a wide range of products, we don't cover every product in the market. If you decide to apply for a product through our website, you will be dealing directly with the provider of that product and not with Mozo.