Australian Real Estate Rules for Foreign Investors

Foreign Investors

real estate australiaInvesting in Australian real estate can be a great foreign investment as long as you know and follow the real estate rules. Foreign investors must be approved in order to purchase residential real estate, vacant land, or commercial property in Australia. Even non-citizen family members of Australian citizens must seek approval before being able to buy any real estate.

There are some exemptions that allow you to purchase real estate without having to apply for approval. However, the Australian government recommends that any foreigners wishing to invest in Australian real estate consult with a real estate attorney before assuming that their purchase does not need approval. If you don’t already have one, your real estate agent can help.

Australia’s Foreign Investment Review Board

The review board is the governing body that reviews applications for real estate approval. If you wish to purchase residential real estate, commercial real estate, or vacant land, the Foreign Investment Review Board (FIRB) is the entity that helps approve or deny applications.

The board’s main goal is to ensure that homes continue to be built that can be occupied in the future by Australian citizens or people who relocate to the continent. With Australia’s growth boom there has been a slight housing shortage, especially in the more cosmopolitan areas.  The board assists investors in complying with policies.

The Application Process

FIRB prefers that applicants submit electronic applications. Mail applications are accepted, but they do take considerably longer to arrive and process than applications done through email or fax. Depending on the type of real estate investment you’re making, there is a variety of forms you fill out. The board will want to see financial information, the address or location of the property being purchased, and any web addresses if purchasing as a business investment.


There is a variety of exemptions granted to Australian real estate investors. Some of the approval exemptions are:

  • Australian citizens who live abroad don’t need approval to purchase property.
  • You are purchasing Australian property from a developer who has already been pre-approved to sell to foreigners.
  • You are purchasing government property.
  • You are purchasing property as a joint tenant with your spouse who is an Australian citizen.
  • You have a permanent resident visa and are purchasing only residential real estate.

Although you may think your real estate investment meets exemption needs, it’s important to ensure that your transaction is legally exempt before moving forward with your sale. It’s also important to remember that approvals are only good for one property. You must get approval for each piece of Australian real estate you wish to purchase. There is no general approval process that grants you permission to continuously purchase real estate.

Sales In Australia.

Sales in Australia as indicated in this link gives the investor a indication on what the market has been doing since 1986 up to 2009. All indications have been good for strong investment in the Australian Market. One of the main driving forces behind the Australian market is the mining industry. Australia has been going through a gradual increase with the export of different materials to all parts of the world.  Australia has a vast quantity of Iron Ore and other precious metals that drives these property prices. Your views toward these comments would be appreciated.

Regards and have a most outstanding week.

Richard Colum

Western Australia watching out for a good buy for you. 😉


3 Responses to “Australian Real Estate Rules for Foreign Investors”

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  1. Jill Brown says:

    Hi Richard,
    I must admit I am rather relieved to learn that there are guidelines for overseas investors buying Real Estate in Australia. For a long time I had the impression that it was relatively easy for them to do so.

    I suppose WA will be a good place to invest because of mining the property prices will keep rising at a fairly rapid rate.

    I enjoyed reading this article, thankyou.

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