FIRB Rules On Buying A House In Australia As A Foreigner

Looking for buying a house in Australia as a foreigner? Many international real estate investors turn to Australia because of its favorable climate, natural beauty, and investment opportunities. This explains why the process of buying a house in Australia as a foreigner has proven to be complex.

The government of Australia has tasked Foreign Investment Review Board to oversee the whole process and ensure both residents, non-residences, and citizens don’t suffer losses. As a foreigner, you’ll realize that the FIRB rules keep changing, and if you happen to violate any of them, you may be imprisoned for three years or fined 157,500 Australian dollars.

What type of property can a foreigner buy in Australia?

The FIRB rules are strict on the types of property a nonresident can buy.  As of December 2015, the FIRB Regulation allowed nonresidents to buy only vacant blocks of land targeted for development, established dwellings for redevelopment, or new residential property.

New dwelling

According to FIRB, a new dwelling is defined as a house under construction and hasn’t been sold as a dwelling before.  Again, the house must not have been occupied previously. Furthermore, if a developer sold it, it must not have been occupied for over 12 months.

When buying a house in Australia as a foreigner, remember that new dwellings don’t fall under renovated or refurbished establishments.  Lastly, if you buy a residential property in Australia and don’t live or rent it for more than six months,  there will be an annual vacancy charge determined by the Australian Taxation Office

buying a house in Australia as a foreigner

Established Dwellings For Redevelopment

Buying a house in Australia as a foreigner, especially if it’s an established dwelling that you want to redevelop, requires that you improve Australian housing stock. FIRB won’t allow international investors to redevelop a single dwelling into another single dwelling.

Furthermore, the dwelling you intend to redevelop must be vacant before redevelopment or demolition.  Again, the demolitions and construction of the new house must be accomplished within four years after the approval date. Lastly, you have to submit renovation builders completion certification or final occupancy 30 days after receiving it.

Vacant land

Besides buying a house in Australia as a foreigner, you can also buy vacant land and develop it after receiving FIRB approval. When you buy vacant land for development in Australia, you must complete the construction in not more than four years from the approval date.  Again, you must submit proof indicating that the construction of the dwelling is complete within 30 days.

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