Temporary Residents living in Australia are often told that due to their residency status (ie, no permanent residency) they are not eligible to buy property in Australia, are not eligible for a home loan or require substantial deposits compared to their Australian citizen counterparts.
This article explores the options available to these certain visa holders in financing their next Australian purchase as well as some of the legislative requirements and considerations including FIRB Approval.
What Type of Visa do I need to be on to Buy Property in Australia?
Most temporary residents can purchase property in Australia and obtain home loan financing providing they have sufficient income and a 20% deposit regardless of the type of visa they are on (providing the visa allows them to work in Australia).
If a deposit of less than 20% is available, then some lenders will lend to 90% LVR if the non resident is on a 457, 475, 487 or 495 visa and works in a professional field (ie, IT, Legal, Accounting, HR and so on). These visa holders can get up to 90% LVR providing they are in the professional field, have some genuine savings, good employment and off any probation period.
Those that are on Bridging Visas, Student Visas and all other types of visas will require a minimum of 20% deposit plus costs.
Can I get the First Home Owners Grant and Stamp Duty Concessions if I am on a Temporary Resident Visa?
To be eligible for the first home owners grant one applicant must be an Australian citizen or permanent resident at the time of purchase.
The Stamp Duty concessions that apply however may be available depending on the state that you live in. Stamp duty concession requirements differ from the FHOG requirements and as such different rules apply.
Do I need Government Approval ('FIRB' Approval)?
Foreign Investment Review Board Approval ('FIRB') is required for all purchases who do not hold Australian citizenship or permanent residency unless an exception applies. Exceptions apply when one applicant is a citizen or holds permanent residency or where the property being bought is a brand new house, construction, unit development or vacant land.
Whilst an FIRB application may be required before you can purchase property in Australia, if the purchaser is looking to live in the property then the approval is almost always granted. The policy of the FIRB is to prevent foreign investors from buying up Australian homes, not the foreign citizen living in Australia looking for a place to live.
It is important to note that temporary residents will be required to sell the property should they leave the country or move. Ie, they are not permitted to rent out property unless the property is brand new. Naturally, if the temporary resident has obtained permanent residency by the time they move then there is no requirement to sell.
Temporary residents can purchase property in Australia and arrange home loan finance to 90% LVR if necessary. There are a few extra steps that need to be taken and some lending restrictions do apply as identified above.