International investment in Australian property

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MiCasa Property Group specialises in helping overseas buyers (expats and foreign investors) find their dream home or investment property in Australia.

We protect foreign buyers from paying too much or buying the wrong type of property. MiCasa Property Group provides independent advice and assistance to investors (and home buyers with permanent residence status) to navigate the Australian property market. Investment in Australia from overseas is controlled by the Foreign Investment Review Board (FIRB).

The Australian government also regulates the people who are approved to operate in the investment and property industry. The services we offer are delivered by a team of specialists who have assisted Foreign Buyers with Taxation and Finance requirements since 2000.  We offer legal advice, financing advice, taxation advice, property management and international property advice.

Why invest in Australian property?

Australia's property market has a proven record of stable prices. Overseas property markets such as Hong Kong or the USA have suffered significant crashes that are completely unheard of in Australia. Housing prices in volatile economies can drop up to 70% within a few weeks, leaving investors with huge losses. Since 1900 when records began the Australian market has not suffered a fall in median house prices over 20% in one year. This is true even the Global Financial Crisis of 2009 / 2010 which saw property prices in the UK and USA fall significantly. Australian houses in some pockets actually increased in value during this period. The majority of the market did not suffer and certainly nothing like any other country in the world. 

Strong growth performance
Australian properties have enjoyed consistent capital growth over the last 100 years, with property prices doubling roughly every 7 to 10 years. One of the reasons behind the growth is Australia's chronic housing shortage in many of the major cities. Population is growing at a rate much faster than dwellings are being constructed.

Australia is a great place to live
Australia is well-known for its diverse international cities and breath taking natural beauty. Queensland (QLD) is famous for its wonderful beaches and reefs, Victoria (VIC) for its stunning coast line stretching to South Australia (SA), The Northern Territory (NT) for its distinctive outback experience and New South Wales (NSW) for the tranquil Blue Mountains, beautiful coast and Sydney. Stability and growth are not just features of residential houses, townhouses and units. Most commercial properties such as offices, factories and retail outlets have proven themselves to have excellent returns. Larger foreign investors tend to prefer commercial property, resorts, hotels or developments.

Guidelines for foreign ownership

Australia welcomes people living outside the country to purchase homes, apartments and property. Australian property is an easy asset to maintain from overseas. The Australian property industry is well experienced in assisting investors obtain property, then manage the tenants and look after the well-being of their property. Government regulations ensure that Landlord and Owner Rights are protected and that the building is of the highest quality and standard. Most property in Australia is Freehold Title, meaning that it is owned and not leased. There are, however, some important rules that you need to be fully aware of.

Purchasing Guidelines  
Australian Citizens and Permanent Residents can acquire any property in Australia. The Australian Government, through the Foreign Investment Review Board (FIRB), regulates the sale of Australian property to overseas persons and corporations. Foreign nationals can buy:

New property
Residential projects or apartments - up to 50% of the total project can be purchased by foreign nationals.  

Vacant Land
Only if construction begins within twelve months of purchase. See our list of vacant land.  

Established Property
Only if an additional amount of no less than 50% of the original property cost is spent on improvements, or additional construction (consent of the FIRB is required).  

Commercial Property
Under AU$50M Buying Off the Plan

Australian Citizen or Permanent Resident
No restrictions on purchases.

Temporary Resident, Retiree or Student
Can buy new property without restriction or an established property provided it is your residence and it is sold when your visa expires. Consent of the FIRB is required.

Foreign National or Foreign Corporation
Can buy new property. Can buy vacant land as long as building commences within 12 months of purchase. Can buy an established property only if an additional amount of no less than 50% of the original property cost is spent on improvements or additional construction. Can buy up to 50% of new projects or apartments, consent of the FIRB is required.

Commercial Property under AU$50M
No Restrictions to Foreigners. Some rules apply.

Taxation and finance guidelines

Foreign buyers will have to account for Income Tax and Capital Gains Tax on their Australian property investment. Australia's laws can be quite complicated, but there are incentives available to foreign buyers which can reduce tax impact. Australian property is well regarded by financiers and you should find it relatively easy to obtain a loan to purchase property. This may not only improve your cash flow, but may also provide tax and currency advantages. For further information please talk with your International Property Specialist to guide you through the process.

What is the FIRB?

The Australian Government welcomes foreign investment. It has helped build Australia's economy and will continue to enhance the wellbeing of Australians by supporting economic growth and prosperity. The Foreign Investment Review Board (the Board) is a non statutory body established in 1976 to advise the Treasurer and the Government on Australia's Foreign Investment Policy (the Policy) and its administration. The Foreign Investment Review Board (the FIRB) examines proposals by foreign persons to invest in Australia and makes recommendations to the Treasurer on those subject to the Foreign Acquisitions and Takeovers Act 1975 and Australia's foreign investment policy.

The Board's functions are advisory only. Responsibility for making decisions on the Policy and proposals rests with the Treasurer. The Treasury's Foreign Investment and Trade Policy Division (the Division) provides secretariat services to the Board and is responsible for the day to day administration of the arrangements. The role of the Board, including through its secretariat, is to: examine proposed investments in Australia that are subject to the Policy, the Foreign Acquisitions and Takeovers Act 1975 (the Act) and supporting legislation, and to make recommendations to the Treasurer and other Treasury portfolio ministers on these proposals;  advise the Treasurer on the operation of the Policy and the Act;  foster an awareness and understanding, both in Australia and abroad, of the Policy and the Act;  provide guidance to foreign persons and their representatives or agents on the Policy and the Act;  monitor and ensure compliance with the Policy and the Act; and  provide advice to the Treasurer on the Policy and related matters.

Companies operating in Australia and Australian companies operating overseas are expected to act in accordance with the principles set out in the OECD Guidelines.