Buying property in Australia – what overseas investors need to know

Australia is an attractive market for foreign investors, particularly when in comes to owning property including land. However, with escalating property prices in Sydney and Melbourne, the Australian and State Governments have made it more restrictive for foreign residents to purchase residential property in Australia. 

In this article, Ben Weeding from Buyside buyers agency outlines what investors can currently do when it comes to purchasing properties in Australia.

Residential Real Estate

As a general rule, foreigners are restricted to purchasing:

  1. New or “off-the plan” residential property which has been approved by the Foreign Investment Review Board (FIRB)
  2. Vacant land with the intention of building a property within four years, also requiring FIRB approval which costs a minimum of $5,000 depending on the value.

Foreign buyers are also subject to additional fees on top of what residents pay which includes state stamp duty (NSW 4%, Victoria 7%, Queensland 3%) and a land tax surcharge (NSW 0.75%, Victoria 1.5%).

Recent changes – in the May 2017 Federal  budget, a number of additional measures have been introduced which will apply to foreign investors:

  • any capital gains are fully taxable (residents receive a 50% discount on the assessable amount
  • CGT withholding tax will increase from 10% to 12.5%
  • developments will be limited to 50% foreign investors
  • where properties remain vacant for more than six months, and $5,000 fee will apply
Commercial Property

Australian commercial property investment has become an attractive alternative for foreign investors with the with a strong business environment, higher rental returns and fewer restrictions.

Purchases can be made up to $252M without FIRB approval, although where the proposed acquisition is considered to be sensitive the threshold is $55M.

For countries where Australia has a Free Trade Agreement (FTA), the threshold is $1,094 million regardless of whether the land is considered sensitive. Current FTA countries include New Zealand, Canada, Chile, Korea, Japan, Thailand, Malaysia, Singapore and the US.

Agricultural Land

This is land that can be used for primary production and all proposed investments by foreigners must be notified to the Australian Taxation Office Register of Foreign Ownership. Approval is required where the cumulative value exceeds $15 million, again except FTA partners.

For more information or assistance with purchasing Australian property contact Ben Weeding – details here. 

Aus-China business: now to the how!

We have all been hearing about Why China and the scale of the opportunities which are massive. But how can you navigate the market and be confident there is demand for your project or service, ensure marketing is tailored to the culture and importantly get the right introductions to support your business growth objectives.
Expat Advisors Community

We are a group of professionals that serve international clients, predominantly from Asia. Contact us for to be part of our network, for relevant business introductions or attend our own and partner forums including the annual Asian Financial Forum delegation. www.expatadvisorscommunity.com.au

Significant Investor Visa (SIV) – Consulting and Concierge services

Since the changes to the investment framework for this inbound migration program, it is even more important that potential applicants, the majority from China, get the right advice from the right professional at the right time.

We welcome potential applicants and migration agents to contact us to see how we can support you throughout the journey and for product and solution providers to ensure they have an appropriate proposition to serve this market. www.sivconsultant.com.au

Business Connections and Support Services 

Expat Advisors Community works with a number of trusted partners. and subjects to your needs and objectives can provide shortcut by arranging appropriate introductions. These currently include:

Dearin & Associates: International Business Accelerator course – details here. 

Farms and Finance: connecting Australian agriculture with Chinese capital – details here.

Australian Services Roundtable: SME mentoring for internationalisation – details here.

BasisPoint: SIV events and China market intelligence.

More on our range of Aus-China Business and Consulting services here.

More changes likely to Significant Investor Visa Program

The Hon Alex Hawke, assistant minister for immigration addressing the BasisPoint conference.
At the recent BasisPoint Significant Investor Visa (SIV) conference, following the keynote address by the assistant immigration minister The Hon Alex Hawke MP, there were lots of questions from the more than 200 industry participants in attendance.

SIV is one of the streams within the Business and Innovation program and more than 1,700 visas have been granted since commencement in 2012 generating $8.7B in complying investments, with 88.4% of applicants from China. In July 2015 there was a change to the complying investments framework to more active assets to contribute to Australia’s economic growth. Continue reading More changes likely to Significant Investor Visa Program

Will the changes to the 457 Visa stream impact on SIV?

A major overhaul of the Employer Sponsored visa known as the 457 was announced by the Australia’s Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull on Tuesday afternoon on Facebook. 
What is the 457 program and what changes have been announced?

The 457 Visa pathway is designed to attract foreign workers to Australia to fill local skills shortages. The four-year Employer Sponsored visa also enables workers to apply for permanent residency in Australia. Continue reading Will the changes to the 457 Visa stream impact on SIV?

What is China’s One Belt One Road initiative and why is it important for Australia?

At the end of 2013 Chinese President Xi Jinping announced one of China’s most ambitious foreign policy and economic initiatives, the Silk Road Economic Belt and the 21st-century Maritime Silk Road. It consists of:

  • The land-based “Belt” – the historic overland Silk Road trading routes that connected China, via Central Asia, to Europe and the Middle East
  • The oceangoing “Road” – the maritime equivalents to the south, linking China, Southeast Asia, India, Africa and potentially Australia after Chinese President Xi Jinping called in April last year for the alignment of One Belt, One Road with Australia’s northern development plan.

Continue reading What is China’s One Belt One Road initiative and why is it important for Australia?