Who can purchase property in Australia and what are the visa requirements?

[ 1 ] Foreign Investment Review Board

This is a Board set up under the Treasury Department of the Federal Government. The Board, amongst other functions, deals with foreign persons who purchase property in Australia. Generally, if a foreign person wishes to purchase commercial property under $5,000,000.00, then approval from the Board is not needed. Similarly, if a foreign person is to purchase a farm or rural property, permission is not needed.
Permission is needed if a foreign person is buying residential land.

A foreign person will obtain permission to buy vacant land providing they give an undertaking to commence construction of a dwelling house within one year. A foreign person will also be given permission to buy a Unit that has never been occupied and providing the builders of the Units have sold less than 50% to foreign persons.

A foreign person who holds a visa which entitles them to remain in Australia for more than one year will generally be granted permission to buy a house that is already built, providing that they live in the house and sell it when their visa expires.

[ 2 ] Visas

For any foreign person to enter Australia they must have an appropriate visa. Generally most people will be able to obtain a visitor visa which can be extended up to a period of one year. These visas are granted provided that the Australian Government is satisfied that the person is coming here for a genuine visit.

Business Visas
Foreign persons who have a business history and have a minimum capital of $250,000.00 may be eligible for a long stay business visa. This visa is for four years and allows the holder to work in Australia in relation to either buying an existing business or starting a new business. Providing that certain requirements relating to turnover and number of employees are met, then it may be possible for the person then to apply for permanent residence once they are in Australia.

Retirement visas
These are available to foreign persons who have reached the age of 55 years of age, have no dependant children and have a certain amount of capital and/or a pension. The visas are granted for 4 years, but do not allow the holder to work in Australia.

Permanent residence
Permanent residence can be applied for generally it is only granted to people under 50 years of age, unless there are exceptional circumstances. The general skilled migration programme is a points test based on skill, experience and age and certain other matters.

[ 3 ] Property Law

The Law of property in Australia is similar to the English system. There are central registries showing the ownership of land. The transfer of the ownership involves a Lawyer carrying out certain searches or enquiries regarding the property.

If it is necessary for permission from the Foreign Investment Review Board to obtain to the purchase, then the contract is made conditional upon that. The system in Australia of property is generally quite simple and relatively inexpensive.


Australian Property Connections
Regine Bergmann
Cairns Real Estate Agency

Selective lifestyle properties for interstate and overseas clients.
English/German speaking Real Estate Agent providing personal service. Familiar with FIRB rules

Boland's Centre, 14 Spence Street (PO Box 5419) Cairns CBD 4870 Qld Australia
E-mail: regine@austpropconnection.com - Mobile 0407 405 776