Skip to content

Residential real estate

Under Australia’s foreign investment framework, foreign persons generally need to apply for foreign investment approval before purchasing residential real estate in Australia.

The Government’s policy is to channel foreign investment into new dwellings as this creates additional jobs in the construction industry and helps support economic growth. It can also increase government revenues, in the form of stamp duties and other taxes, and from the overall higher economic growth that flows from additional investment.

Foreign investment applications are therefore generally considered in light of the overarching principle that the proposed investment should increase Australia’s housing stock (be creating at least one new additional dwelling).

Consistent with this aim, different factors apply depending on whether the type of property being acquired will increase the housing stock or whether it is an established dwelling.

The annual vacancy fee is part of the Government’s comprehensive housing affordability plan and seeks to increase the number of properties available for Australians to live in. Foreign persons who purchase residential real estate will be subject to an annual vacancy fee where the property is not residentially occupied or rented out for more than six months in a year.

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.

Guidance