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Exemptions for Foreign Buyers of Property in Australia

Buying House in Australia

It is policy of the Australian Government that investment in residential real estate should increase Australia’s housing stock. Any proposal that is in line with this policy will be approved and that includes foreigners buying property in Australia.

Below is a summary of transactions relating to residential real estate that will be approved by the Foreign Investment Review Board:

1. NEW DWELLINGS (a Property that has not previously been sold or occupied, including off the plan):

There are no restrictions on temporary residents or other foreigners to buy new dwellings in Australia.


There are no restrictions on temporary residents or other foreigners to buy residential property by way of an off the plan contract in Australia.


The only restriction is that the buyer must commence construction of the dwelling within 24 months from the date of settlement.

4. SECOND-HAND DWELLINGS (Dwellings previously owned by a party other than the original developer)

A temporary resident may buy second-hand dwellings but must reside in the dwelling and must sell the dwelling when leaving Australia.

Other foreign persons are not entitled to buy second-hand dwellings in Australia.

Approval must be sought by temporary residents and other foreigners for the purchase of any commercial properties. Approval will usually be granted subject to conditions such as that construction must commence within 5 years from the date of settlement if the property is bought for commercial development.

There are significant penalties that may apply to ineligible owners of real estate and we strongly recommend all agents acting for temporary residents or other foreigners and the buyers themselves to obtain legal advice before signing a contract for the purchase of real estate in Australia.

Should you require any further detail or assistance in this matter, please do not hesitate to contact our Property and Commercial Department on 07 5536 9777 or email


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Jeff Garrett

Jeff Garrett

  • Legal Practice Director
  • Direct line: 07 5506 8201
  • Mobile: 0419 304 174