International Buyers



Residential real estate means all Australian residential land and housing other than commercial properties (such as, offices, factories, warehouses, hotels, restaurants and shops) and rural properties (that is, land that is used wholly and exclusively for carrying on a substantial business of primary production). Acquisitions of ‘hobby farms’ and ‘rural residential’ blocks by foreign interests are considered to be residential real estate.

The Government seeks to ensure that foreign investment in residential real estate increases the supply of dwellings and is not speculative in nature. The policy seeks to channel foreign investment in the housing sector into activity that directly increases the supply of new housing (that is, new developments such as house and land, home units and townhouses) and brings benefits to the local building industry and its suppliers.

The effect of the more restrictive policy measures on developed residential real estate is twofold. Firstly, it helps reduce the possibility of excess demand building up in the existing housing market. Secondly, it aims to encourage the supply of new dwellings, many of which would become available to Australian residents, either for purchase or rent. The cumulative effect should be to maintain greater stability of house prices and the affordability of housing for the benefit of Australian residents.


Certain acquisitions do not require notification or approval under the Foreign Acquisitions and Takeovers Act 1975 (also referred to as exempt acquisitions).  Foreign persons should determine whether their proposed acquisition is exempt and if in doubt, seek legal advice.

Please note that we do not issue exemption letters.


You do not need to submit an application for approval to acquire real estate in Australia if:

• you are an Australian citizen living abroad;

• your spouse is an Australian citizen (not a permanent resident) and you are purchasing residential real estate in both names as joint tenants (not tenants in common);

•you are a New Zealand citizen and you are purchasing residential property;

•you hold a permanent resident visa and you are purchasing residential property;

• you are purchasing new dwelling(s) from the developer, where the developer has pre-approval to sell those dwellings to foreign persons;

• you are acquiring an interest in a time share scheme which does not permit you (and any of your associates) more than 4 weeks entitlement per year;

• you are purchasing certain residential real estate in an Integrated Tourism Resort (ITR);

•you are acquiring an interest in developed commercial property valued below the relevant monetary thresholds;

•you are acquiring an interest in developed commercial property where the property is to be used immediately and in its present state for industrial or non residential commercial purposes. The acquisition must be wholly incidental to the purchaser’s proposed or existing business activities;

• you are acquiring an interest by will or by operation of law (such as, a court order regarding the division of property in a divorce settlement, but not if both parties simply agree to transfer property without a court’s intervention); or

• you are purchasing property from the Government (Commonwealth, State or Territory, or local).



If an acquisition is not exempt, foreign purchaser(s) must notify the Government prior to acquiring the interest. If they enter a contract, it should be conditional upon foreign investment approval, and they should ensure that it remains conditional until after foreign investment approval is granted.

Foreign persons are in breach of the FATA if they enter an unconditional contract to acquire property (or if their conditional contract becomes unconditional) before approval is granted and may be subject to significant penalties.


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