Buying a House in Australia

Buying a House in Australia

Buying a House in Australia

How to buy 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” and
  • “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

  • 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 – FIRB

Interesting Q&A fact sheet: – FIRB faq

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
Buying a House in Queensland
Buying a House in New South Wales
Buying a House in Victoria
Buying a House in South Australia
Buying a House in Western Australia
Buying a House in Tasmania
Buying a House in Australian Capital Territory
Buying a House in Northern Territory
Real Estate Institutes

Real Estate Institute of Australia –

Real Estate Institute of Australian Capital Territory –

Real Estate Institute of New South Wales –

Real Estate Institute of Northern Territory –

Real Estate Institute of Queensland

Real Estate Institute of Tasmania –

Real Estate Institute of Victoria –

Real Estate Institute of Western Australia –

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11 thoughts on “Buying a House in Australia”

  1. My son is Australian citizen.I have property in India ,can i sell it and buy house in Australia.AS i dont have to pay short term capital gain.can he take loan in Australia and we can have joined property? Iam Indian citizen.

    1. If the money is available to buy, then your son has no problems in buying it. To add your name to the property you can check any current rulers at FIRB.

      Under Australia’s foreign investment framework, foreign persons generally need to apply for foreign investment approval before purchasing residential real estate in Australia.
      It is important that foreign investors understand and comply with Australia’s foreign investment framework as strict criminal and civil penalties may apply for breaches of the law, including disposal orders.

      This section may be relevant.. ‘Residential real estate – foreign non-residents

  2. Hi

    A small query here . I am willing to buy a already build house form the developer . It will be the first sale of the house . Can I buy it as per FIRB norms . I am a non resident Australian !


  3. Reply ABCDiamond  says: Many people buy the land first, then have a house built. A typical cost may be, in my area, $270k for the land and $150k for the house.

    Hi like you said in your area land 270k+150build, total cost420k. What will be the finished value?

    1. It is difficult to give a real value, as this depends on what exactly you have built, and how desirable it is to most buyers. However, I would guess that it would be maybe around $20,000 cheaper than buying a ready built comparable house. Although, having said that, I was looking at building but decided to buy an existing house as it is what I want, without the hassle of negotiating with the building process etc. I also do not have to wait 6 months while it is being built.

  4. I have been told if you buy property in Australia you actually own the land on which its built,is that correct or not??

    1. That is correct, the vast majority of the time. Maybe 99.9%.

      Many people buy the land first, then have a house built. A typical cost may be, in my area, $270k for the land and $150k for the house.

  5. I am an India Citizen i dont have a temporary or permanent residency is australia.But i still want to buy i property there for renting purporse.Can i buy it ??

    1. Hi rishab,

      Not sure if you had a response. You may be able to buy a land and build a house and make than as an investment house in Australia. You need to be FIRB approved. Also please check money transfer guidelines from India.

  6. Hi There,

    need advice. my husband, myself and my son we are on TR waiting for our PR. PR might take another couple of years. in the mean time can we buy our first home?
    please advice

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