Accommodation in Australia

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Types of Houses in Australia

House types vary to a large degree over Australia.

You may get the older style weatherboard houses in rural areas and in some older residential suburbs, but more common these days is the Brick Veneer style of modern home.

Brick Veneer is the Australian term equivalent to Timber Frame in the UK.

A description of which is:

Timber frame – A method of building construction where the internal walls, floors, roof etc are manufactured in sections using timber off site and are erected onto a completed base built up from the foundations. In modern timber framed buildings, the inner timber construction is often covered by using an outer skin of brick or similar materials to give a traditional appearance.

taken from:

Most houses in the suburbs are detached houses on building blocks of about 700-800sm, although this is reducing in some of the newer areas to closer to 500sm, or less.

There are also quite a number of “Townhouses”, the modern version of terraced houses, sometimes just 2 or 3 houses joined together, but sometimes more.

Some Real Estate Terms that we may not be familiar with:

DLUG = Double Lock up Garage
SLUG or LUG = Single Lock up Garage
4×2 = 4 bedrooms and 2 bathrooms (Common term in WA)

This section will be expanded on later, and maybe put on a page of its own, especially if anyone wishes to add to the above…

House Renting – Unfurnished

These are normally available for stays of 6 months upwards, and sometimes a 1 year tenancy is required.

These are much cheaper than the Furnished rentals but do require that longer commitment.

House Renting – Furnished

These are generally Furnished Houses or units, ideal for Holidays and Validation Trips on short term stays.

Serviced apartments are also popular for short stays

Motels & Hotels in Australia

This page will list some options for Motels and Hotels, especially the main chain groups, around the country.
The individual State pages for Furnished accommodation will also list Motels and Hotels in each individual state.

Buying a House in Australia

Rules apply on who is allowed to purchase property, although any Australian Citizen or Permanent Resident of Australia can a buy a house in Australia without any restrictions.

Each State has its own rules and regulations on purchasing property.

What may be correct procedure in one State may not be the same in another, so it is advisable to always check first, before assuming that what you have heard elsewhere actually applies.

One example of this is making an offer for the purchase of as property:

In some States, NSW being one, an offer is just that, it is an offer to purchase.
However, in other States, QLD being one, an offer to purchase a property is actually signed by the purchaser, and, if accepted by the seller, becomes a contract immediately.
Therefore make sure your offer is subject to your conditions.
The Real Estate agent should advise you on this, but the initial conditions you should request, as a minimum, are:

  • Subject to you getting suitable finance
  • Subject to satisfactory Pest Inspection and Building Report

Always, when buying a house, have a Pest Inspection and Building Report done before completion.

Property Buying Restrictions:

Australian Citizen or Permanent Resident
No Restrictions

Temporary Resident, Retiree or Student
There are some changes that may be in effect from December 2008, please check the FIRB website to see if you are affected by them. The prime one appears to be:

Temporary residents will not be required to notify proposed acquisitions of an established dwelling for their own residence (not for investment purposes);

A temporary resident includes all foreign persons living in Australia who hold a valid temporary visa which permits them to stay in Australia for a continuous period of more than 12 months or has submitted an application for permanent residency (PR), and holds a bridging visa which permits them to stay in Australia until PR is granted.

Please check to see if any exemptions apply to you.

Existing Rules

  • You can buy new property without restriction.
  • You can buy an established property provided it is your residence and it is sold when your visa expires.
  • Consent of the FIRB is normally required. (exceptions apply for some spouse / de facto partner.)
  • 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.

FIRB = Foreign Investment Review Board –
Interesting Q&A fact sheet: –
The FIRB FAQ site states: (as at Dec 2008)

Q6. I am a foreign person living in Australia on a long stay, temporary resident visa. Do I need approval to buy an established house to live in?

A. Yes. Foreign persons temporarily resident in Australia for a period exceeding 12 months from the time of application for approval are eligible under foreign investment policy to acquire residential real estate. If the property being purchased is an established dwelling, that is, one that has been previously occupied or sold, foreign investment approval is still available provided that the dwelling is to be used as the persons principal place of residence, not for rental purposes and the property must be sold when their visa expires or they cease to reside in Australia.

Q18. I am an Australian citizen, but my spouse / de facto partner is a foreign person, do we require permission to purchase a house?

A. Australian citizens and their foreign spouses (which include de facto partners) are exempt from notification as long as the property is zoned residential and you are buying the property as joint tenants.

The House Buying Procedures in Australia


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