Home-Buying Basics for Non-Australians

The population of Perth grows more diverse with each level of economic growth. In fact, Perth saw the highest growth in immigration compared to other major cities in Australia. Whilst Australians still make up the majority of property buyers, British, New Zealanders, South Africans, and buyers of other nationalities all want a piece of Perth, starting with real estate.

Foreign real estate buyers, though, need to undergo a longer process than local buyers. The government must perform a check to make sure that any purchase benefits the local community. The Foreign Investment Review Board (FIRB) handles real estate transactions by foreign buyers, be it for residential or commercial purposes.

Foreign buyers must remember one crucial thing if they want to get prior approval: The property must only be used for residential purposes. Buying a home for the sake of recreational or rental use is grounds for denial, according to the FIRB. Once approved, one can purchase vacant land or house-and-land packages, but construction must start within 12 months of the purchase.

Foreign buyers need not seek approval from the FIRB if they follow either of two conditions: (1) if in a joint purchase, the spouse is Australian; and (2) the buyer holds a special category visa, which is granted to New Zealand residents under the Trans-Tasman Travel Agreement.

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