How to buy a house in Australia

How to buy a house in Australia

For many people, owning a home in Australia is the ultimate Aussie dream. And that dream is no different for new migrants making Australia their home. When it comes to buying a house in Australia as a migrant though, there are a few rules you need to know about to pave the way to home ownership. Read on to find out what your options are as a migrant on a temporary visa or as a permanent resident buying property in Australia.

Temporary Residents
Australia has strict guidelines for foreign non-residents and temporary residents who wish to purchase property in Australia. Temporary residents are required to obtain approval to purchase from the Foreign Investment Review Board (FIRB). The FIRB is a governing body ensuring all residential properties are bought in compliance with the Foreign Acquisitions and Takeovers Act (1975).

According to the FIRB, a temporary resident is someone who:

• Holds a temporary visa that permits them to remain in Australia for a continuous period of more than 12 months (regardless of how long remains on the visa).

• Is residing in Australia, has submitted an application for a permanent visa, and holds a bridging visa which permits them to stay in Australia until that application has been finalised.

If your temporary visa is less than 12 months you are considered to be a foreign non-resident. Temporary residents and foreign non-residents are subject to various rules when purchasing residential property in Australia.

The FIRB guidelines state that you must have approval before a property can be purchased in Australia. As a temporary resident, you may be able to purchase a new dwelling or an established dwelling.

New dwellings are homes built on residential land which have not been previously sold, not been previously occupied, or are part of a development sold by the developer. A refurbished or renovated property is not considered a new dwelling, but vacant land bought for development is deemed a new dwelling – for example, home and land packages.

Established dwellings refer to residential properties that are on the secondary market. If as a temporary resident you move out of the established dwelling, it must be sold within 3 months.

You can purchase property as an investment to rent out provided these are new dwellings. You can only purchase one established dwelling to live in and you cannot rent that out.

Permanent Residents
When it comes to buying property, Australian permanent residents have the same rights as Australian citizens in that there are no FIRB restrictions for permanent residents.

First Home Owner’s Grant
Temporary residents do not qualify for the First Home Owner’s Grant (New Homes) scheme designed to help new homeowners. However, permanent residents may apply to the scheme.

Each Australian state has different qualifiers for grants, ranging from $10,000 to $20,000. The grants are awarded to first-time homeowners for new homes or other qualified residential properties that cost between $550,000 to $750,000 depending on your state.

Different rules will apply to each state FHOG so it’s worthwhile seeking advice from your local mortgage broker if you are considering accessing this type of funding.

Work with an expert
Securing a mortgage as a new migrant can be challenging. Banks may require identification, FIRB qualification, proof of legal residence, as well as documents to back up your credit history and mortgage affordability.

At Mortgage Express, we’re experienced at helping new migrants buy their own homes and can talk you through your options for finance. Get in touch with one of our brokers today by completing this online form, and one of our team will be in touch to discuss further.

While all care has been taken in the preparation of this publication, no warranty is given as to the accuracy of the information and no responsibility is taken by Finservice Pty Ltd (Mortgage Express) for any errors or omissions. This publication does not constitute personalised financial advice. It may not be relevant to individual circumstances. Nothing in this publication is, or should be taken as, an offer, invitation, or recommendation to buy, sell, or retain any investment in or make any deposit with any person. You should seek professional advice before taking any action in relation to the matters dealt within this publication. A Disclosure Statement is available on request and free of charge.

Finservice Pty Ltd (Mortgage Express) is authorised as a corporate credit representative (Corporate Credit Representative Number 397386) to engage in credit activities on behalf of BLSSA Pty Ltd (Australian Credit Licence number 391237) ACN 123 600 000 | Full member of MFAA | Member of Australian Financial Complaints Authority (AF