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Real Estate Myths: Who Can Actually Buy Real Estate in Australia?

by Marquette Turner Luxury Homes

in Money & Business, Resources

Lies, lies and more lies – it seems to be the way many agents and brokers “trick” their way into listing property. Promise the arrival of the “cashed up” international buyer who will overpay for your home and the listing is yours!

So who can actually buy property in Australia and who decides? The Foreign Investment Review Board (FIRB) is the body with the power to decide who can and who cannot purchase homes in Australia. The rules are vague and difficult to understand but I will summarize their view.

Foreign investment in Australia is desirable only if it does not put upward pressure on property prices. In fact it states just this on their website. So when the next real estate agent promises to find an international buyer who will pay well over the odds you know that he or she isn’t familiar with what the Australian Government will and will not allow.


Australian and New Zealand citizens, permanent resident visa holders and temporary resident visa holders awaiting permanent residency are allowed to purchase property in Australia without approval from the FIRB. Outside of that very small, narrow group of people approval is required in almost every case with the exception of:

1. A vacant block of land to build a house

2. A vacant block of land to build multiple dwellings

3. A new dwelling (less than 12 months old)

4. A redevelopment site

5. An established (second hand) property which is for Australian based employees for companies already operating in Australia.

So if you have digested that you might be thinking about selling your existing home (more than 12 months old) to an international buyer as a holiday house, weekender or to use when they are in Australia as their residence. If you are thinking this you have one big problem – they will require approval from the FIRB which in all likelihood they will not receive.


So in summary if you are looking to sell your home and it is older than 12 months old you need to be cautious about claims that international buyers are in abundance. The FIRB can take up to 30 days to approve an application from an international buyer which is longer than most Auction programs. There are plenty of hoops to jump through for any prospective purchaser and there is no guarantee that approval will be granted.

If you are a property developer and selling new product (less than 12 months old) you are in the box seat and can avoid issues with FIRB approval. I hope this helps to make international buying in Australia a little easier to understand. I also hope it assists vendors in sifting through fact from fiction when dealing with agents and brokers. Marquette Turner Luxury Homes specialize in the marketing and sale of property to an international audience. International selling is an extremely specialized field and to ensure you have are dealing with experts be sure to contact either myself or any other member of the team who will be delighted to work with you on the sale of your home.

If you are still intrigued on Foreign Ownership Rules in Australia you can visit the FIRB site HERE


Marquette Turner Luxury Homes on MarquetteTurner.com

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