Purchasing a Property in Australia – for Temporary Residents

Can a temporary resident visa holder buy property in Australia? Are you a foreigner buying house in Australia? Foreign persons who are temporary residents must generally be granted permission from the Foreign Investment Review Board (FIRB) to buy a property in Australia. This can usually take 1 to 2 months and will cost AU$5,700 for a residential property under AU$1 million.

Temporary Resident

Temporary resident is defined as:

  • A person who holds a temporary visa that permits them to remain in Australia for a continuous period of more than 12 months (e.g. SC TSS 482 visa, Regional 491 and 494 visa, Graduate 485 visa)
  • A person who resides in Australia and has submitted an application for a permanent visa and holds a bridging visa which permits them to stay in Australia until the application has been finalised (e.g. waiting for visa approval for SC 189, SC 190, SC 888, SC 191, SC 186)

Types of property

Established dwelling – is a property that has been built on residential land and it is not a new dwelling.

New dwelling – is a property that will be, is being, or has been built on residential land, that has not been occupied previously.

Purchasing property for to live in

Temporary residents may purchase one establish dwelling to live in as their home in Australia. The property must be used as their principal place of residence, and it cannot be rented out. When the property ceases to be your primary residence, it must be sold within 3 months.

Temporary residents may also purchase new dwellings to live in.

Purchasing property to invest

Temporary residents may not purchase established dwellings for investment purposes. However, temporary residents are normally able to purchase new dwellings, and there is usually no limit on the number of new dwellings a temporary resident may purchase for investment purpose.

Purchasing property for development or redevelopment

Temporary residents will usually be allowed to purchase vacant land to develop residential housing provided that the development is completed within four years from the date of approval; and evidence of completion of the dwellings submitted within 30 days of being received.

Temporary residents may also be able to purchase established dwellings for redevelopment. The redevelopment must increase the housing stock in Australia.

Strict conditions apply:

  • The existing dwelling cannot be rented out prior to demolition.
  • The construction of the new dwellings is completed within four years of the date of approval; and
  • Evidence of completion of the dwellings is submitted within 30 days of being received by the applicant.

Fees and Approval

To buy a residential property, investment property or to develop the land, a temporary resident must apply for approval. There are relevant costs involved in the application.  You can read more about it here: https://www.ato.gov.au/general/gen/completing-the-residential-real-estate-application-form/.

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