Some Basic Information to Assist Overseas Buyers
The Australian Government acknowledges the contribution that offshore investment makes in developing a sustainable industry and thus adding valuable resources to our community.
A foreign investment policy has been developed to encourage investment and to set out rules and regulations governing this procedure.
In brief, a foreign interest is either:
- a person not ordinarily resident in Australia, or
- a corporation, business or trust where 15% or more is owned by a foreigner and/or several foreigners have 40% or more aggregate of the ownership.
Included in the various forms of investment and proposals for foreign investment in Australia are the following:
- Developed commercial real estate valued at AUD$5 million and over
- Urban real estate – irrespective of size
- Urban real estate – irrespective of size – exempt under regulations.
In the case of Development, proposed acquisition of real estate (within 12 months) is normally approved. However, this proposal must not be contrary to the National Interest. This is evaluated on a case by case basis by the Australian Government.
Foreign interest in Residential real estate is normally granted for:
- Vacant land where the construction of a dwelling will commence within 12 months.
- Home units and townhouses off the plan but not yet completed.
- Home units and townhouses newly constructed but never occupied
- For senior executives of foreign companies where the company is purchasing the residence.
- 5. Foreign nationals resident for more than 12 months and wishing to purchase and use as their principal place of residence. However, this is subject to the sale of the said property when Australian residency is relinquished.
In the case of Australian citizens living abroad (provided they possess a permanent visa or are entitled to hold a ‘special category’ visa) there is an exemption from examination.
Where a foreign national with an Australian spouse is intending to enter into a joint venture to purchase, approval from the Foreign Investment Board would be required.
This information is strictly an overview of the many rules and regulations governing foreign ownership of real estate in Australia. We highly recommend that you contact the Foreign Investment Review Board or follow this link www.firb.gov.au to their website where, under the Real Estate Category, the following matters are covered in detail:
- Residential Real Estate
- Commercial Real Estate
- Rural Land
- Accommodation Facilities
- Urban Land Corporation/Trusts
- Compliance Issues