Can New Zealand Citizens Buy Property in Australia?

DIFFICULTY LEVEL: EASY

The simple answer is YES. It is super straightforward to buy property as a New Zealand citizen given almost all Australian qualifications translate to Kiwis. All you need to do is some thorough research. 

Why are Kiwi’s interested in buying property in Australia?

The New Zealand lifestyle has a lot in common with the Australian way of life, making the move ‘across the ditch’ more realistic and appealing for Kiwis. New Zealand citizens living in Australia are considered permanent residents and are therefore offered all the same benefits and liberties as any other Australian; this includes acquiring a mortgage at the same rate and even being eligible for the First Home Owners Grant.

Dissimilar to other foreign property buyers, New Zealand citizens are able to purchase new properties as well as existing, established, vacant land and previously owned properties, just like any Australian can. Further to this, Kiwi’s looking at buying a standard residential property do not need Foreign Investment Review Board (FIRB) approval.

green trees near body of water
Iconic view from the Sydney suburb of Kirribilli

If you are looking to purchase a property as a New Zealand citizen, we recommend considering the following points:

For Kiwi’s currently living in Australia…

As a New Zealand citizen you are allowed to live and work in Australia permanently, and the same goes for buying a house in Australia. Your loan can be used for any kind of residential housing – this includes both a home to live in and an investment property in Australia. 

If you’re not currently living in Australia…

The same rules apply to Kiwi’s looking to buy in Australia that are still living in New Zealand, however, mortgage terms might be slightly different based on your lender and you will need to review your Stamp Duty costs based on which state or territory you are looking purchase in – see ‘Stamp Duty considerations’ for more information below.

Stamp Duty considerations for Kiwi’s

Stamp duty is a tax on a property transaction that is charged by each state and territory and goes straight to the state government – each state in Australia imposes a different stamp duty regime (except the Northern Territory) so these costs can vary state to state. The stamp duty rate will depend on factors such as the value of the property, if it is your primary residence and your residency status.

When citizens from New Zealand arrive in Australia they are allowed a Special Category Visa which means you will be exempt from having to pay stamp duty surcharge which is normally required for NSW, VIC, QLD, WA, SA, the ACT and TAS.

However, it’s important to note that in New South Wales you’ll need to be in the country for at least 200 days to avoid this fee. You’re also required to be in the country at the time of settlement and contract signing in order to be eligible to avoid the stamp duty charge. The only state that you can remain outside of Australia at the time of settlement is in the Northern Territory.

Welcome to the wild Australian property market!

Team Home

Have any questions, ideas or feedback? Let us know at support@home.com.au

Can Singapore Citizens Buy Property in Australia?

DIFFICULTY LEVEL: MEDIUM

The simple answer is YES. Singaporean citizens can buy property in Australia however the following points must be considered before you are ready to enter the Australian property market.

Why should you buy in Australia as a Singaporean?

The Australian property market has a lot to offer Singaporean investors. As an english-speaking city close to home, many Singaporeans have an affinity with the Australian lifestyle, having either studied, worked or visited the country. A Singaporean citizen may consider investing in Australian property for several reasons, such as:

  • Lifestyle considerations
  • Steady growth & rental yield
  • Availability of Insurance
  • Via the Australian Prudential Regulation Authority (APRA), Australia has responsible lending legislation and prudent economic management, this reduces the risk of asset price bubbles
  • Australia has never had prices fall more than 20% in one year

Be prepared to front the cash on Newly Built Properties when buying in Australia

The Australian foreign investment laws dictate that non-residents can only buy newly built properties, with approval from the Foreign Investment Review Board. Many Australians, especially first-home buyers, buy established homes rather than new properties, making their average purchase price between A$500-$600K (2020) which is far below the prices of properties marketed to Singaporeans.

Foreign investors snapping up new developments benefits the Australian construction sector and as there is limited competition for those high-end properties, local buyers aren’t overly fussed with international buyer interest.

Here is our Step by Step Guide to Buying Property in Australia as a Citizen of Singapore

Step 1. Organize or hire your team of professionals that includes
  • Conveyancer/Solicitor → to take care of all the legal work for you
  • Mortgage broker → ideally with experience working with non-resident buyers. We recommend BC Invest.
  • Accountant (if required) → to assist you with structuring your financials and saving on tax as they are the experts
  • Buyers agent (if required) → to source the listings and negotiate the price on your behalf, this is also where Home Live comes in!
Step 2. Get your loan pre-approved

With great properties on the Australian market being snapped up so quickly, having a loan pre-approved will ensure you’re in with the best chance. Loan pre-approval will also determine that you are eligible for a loan and how much you can borrow.

Step 3. Applying for a mortgage

Many banks in Australia have begun tightening their lending criteria for all home loans, specifying ‘Interest only’ loans for ‘Owner-occupied’ units in order to decrease the risk of default as there is genuine demand for the houses being occupied. However, Australian banks and lenders tend to favour Singaporean investors due to the strength of the Singaporean Dollar (SDG) and the stability of the SNG economy.

While Australia has started to tighten its lending, Singapore banks are still selectively lending to Australian property purchases for Singaporeans or permanent residents who are tax residents in Singapore.

Step 4. Confirm you qualify with the Foreign Investment Review Board (FIRB)

Prior to the purchase, you must be able to secure approval from the Foreign Investment Review Board (FIRB), which is responsible for ensuring that foreign investments are beneficial to Australia’s economy. This explains the logic behind forcing foreigners to purchase new dwellings, as this adds to the current housing stock.

Step 5. Find a suitable property you wish to buy (Home.com.au)

Non-residents or foreigners including Singaporeans – cannot buy established dwellings in Australia. There are strict rules about what types of residential investment property foreigners can purchase in Australia, which is limited to:

  1. Under-construction or new buildings;
  2. Vacant land for construction, if construction begins within 24 months; and
  3. Established dwellings to be demolished and replaced with a greater number of dwellings
Step 6. Negotiate the purchase price

Many buyers prefer to make use of a professional for this, for example a good buyer’s agent.

Step 7. Obtain formal mortgage approval

You cannot commit yourself to buying a property until your mortgage has been formally approved. Send your mortgage broker your contract of sale when you’ve found a property to buy to start the formal approval process.

Step 8. Exchange contracts and pay your deposit

Once your mortgage is approved and your solicitor/conveyancer has given you the go-ahead you can sign your contract. Normally, Australian property purchases require a 10% deposit to be paid upfront however this amount varies depending on states and can also be negotiated.

Step 9. Seek FIRB approval

So, if you find any property you wish to purchase:

(1) You have to apply to FIRB

(2) You will need to fill in a foreign investment application form from the Australian Tax Office (ATO) website.

Application fees start from $5,800 for properties worth $1 million or less, and the fees increase as the property price bracket increases. The approval process from FIRB may take a minimum of 30 days.

Foreigners who reside in Australia (such as international students or those working in Australia) are considered resident buyers and allowed to purchase existing properties on the market. They need not seek FIRB’s approval. However, they are subject to other restrictions when selling the property when they leave Australia. 

Ensure you check the various state requirements if you belong to this category of foreign buyers, and ensure you can get the following documents:

  • IDs (Passport and an additional ID required by the bank)
  • Payslips
  • Notice of Assessment
  • Between 3 to 6 months worth of bank statements
  • Employment letter or contract
  • 3 to 6 months statement of debt and liabilities
  • Singapore credit file

For Self-employed Singaporean citizens below mentioned documents will be required-

  • A minimum of 2 to 3 years of trading history.
  • A minimum of 2 years of income tax and company financials.
  • At least 6 to 12 months of bank statements for the company and the individual.
  • If you have a stable employment history and income, a strong asset position and have saved up a large deposit, then it increases your chances of loan approval.
Step 10. Final arrangements

If you are living overseas you may need to visit the Australian embassy or consulate to get identified or to have your loan contract witnessed. If you have a trusted friend or relative living in Australia then you can appoint them as a Power of Attorney (POA) and they can sign the loan contract for you.

Settlement (when the property actually changes hands and your loan is advanced – this will be handled by your Conveyancer/Solicitor in conjunction with your bank and mortgage broker so you don’t need to be there for this to happen. And you are good to go!

Welcome to the wild Australian property market!

Team Home

Have any questions, ideas or feedback? Let us know at support@home.com.au

Developers Introduce ‘Preposit’ To Combat Tougher Lending Conditions

What do you do when you need to sell a massive backlog of apartments still on the market due to tightening lending conditions from the banks? You introduce a post pay method for home seekers who are struggling to save for a deposit.

First there was Afterpay now there is Preposit!

For those of you who aren’t familiar with the concept, Afterpay is a digital service that makes it possible to buy something now and pay it off in fortnightly instalments over a set period of time. Unlike a layby, you’ll get the product right away, whether you’re shopping online or in-store. And in the best circumstances, you’ll pay nothing more ie. provided you can afford the repayments.

Now however, Apartments WA are offering ‘preposit’, a service that enables struggling home buyers to rent while saving for a deposit as reported in the Australian Financial Review, ie. the Afterpay of the real estate industry.

Buyers can literally move in today and pay tomorrow, the only catch being that you need to be able to afford your loan repayments and prequalify for a loan.

It is estimated that over the next two years, there will be approximately 200,000 new apartments coming onto the market, of which most are in high-rise developments. A worrying thought to many seeing it has been well documented of recent especially in Brisbane that there is currently an over-supply of apartments with developers resorting to extreme incentives to sell them.

For example, at present developers are offering $50,000 cash incentives plus GST on top of regular sales and advisory commissions to sell luxury apartments around Melbourne.

Some are also offering thousands of dollars worth of designer furniture to be included in the sales, just to get it closed early.

Proposit – the company offering this service, states that it stores the payments in weekly instalments until the deposit amount has been reached, then give back to the buyer toward purchasing the apartment.

Although this may seem like an appealing option to those who can’t seem to save enough for that first deposit, it is very important to take into account the risk factors and additional costs that could be associated with using the service such as interest rates.

The other thing to take into account is oversupply often means that should you wish to sell your home down the line, it may be more difficult to or you may not get a price you are happy with. This particularly applies to first home buyers who often get caught up in the excitement without thinking that they may want to buy a house later on down the track yet wont have any capital growth for a decade due to the massive oversupply.

That being said, as with any large purchase, the best time to get into the property market is when you feel confident and financially ready.

 

 

 

It Pays To Be A Good Kid – Tougher Lending Terms & Conditions See Bank Of Mum & Dad Rise 25%

Tougher conditions imposed by banks, rate rises, increased minimum deposits and harsher repayment terms, has seen parental lending increase by 25 per cent to about $20 billion in the past 12 months as reported by the Australian Financial Review, and it’s only going to get worse according to RBA governor Philip Lowe and ANZ CEO Shayne Elliot, who both warned this week that loans will become even more difficult to get after the poor behaviour of banks exposed in the banking royal commission.

In staggering findings, the Bank of Mum and Dad, a term coined to describe parent lending to their children for property purchases, is now the tenth largest lender in the country, bigger than ME Bank, AMP Bank and the local operations of global banking giants like Citigroup and HSBC Australia.

Younger property buyers increasing reliance on parents to get into the property market reflects tougher lending conditions and difficulty saving deposits in rapidly rising property markets.

Martin North, Principal of Digital Finance Analytics, which complies the annual survey on parent financing of home loans, confirmed this commenting that “savings for a deposit is very difficult at a time when many lenders are requiring a larger deposit as loan to value rules are rising”.

Furthermore, younger buyers also find it difficult to save because of flat incomes, rising costs and the need to have a sizeable deposit to qualify for generous state-government first home owner grants.

At this stage, more than 55 per cent of first time home buyers require financial assistance from their parents, with the average cash contribution being around $89,000.

Yet despite the fact that the number of children needing financial assistance getting into the property market is increasing, the total number of first time home buyers continues to fall, meaning many without parental support could be giving up.

There are risks however associated with this strategy for both the parents and the children, especially if prices continue to fall from current levels, however for many, it’s really the only way to get a foot in the door.

 

Tensions Rise As Sydney’s Auction Clearance Rate Drops Below 60%

Sydney’s property market saw tensions rise this weekend past with auction clearance rates dropping to 58.1 per cent as reported by Domain, as auctioneers who were confronted by a significant amount of “pass-in’s”, mediated standoffs between prospective buyers and vendors across the city.

The clearance rate for Saturday, one of the lowest of the year, was based on 378 reported auctions. However in addition to this, 76 properties were withdrawn, and a further 216 scheduled auction results were not reported by agents – a growing trend which was observed last week when the auction clearance rate was heavily revised for the same reason.

With the 216 outstanding results, the final clearance rate for the weekend could be downgraded to below 50%, making the performance rating from the same weekend last year (74.6%) a distant memory.

This coincides with CoreLogic’s newly-released combined index for eight capital cities, that annual property growth has dropped below zero for the first time since late 2012.

The three-month annualised rate is now at 2.4 per cent, suggesting an acceleration in the negative trend in 2018.  The turnaround has been sharp. Around this time last year, house price inflation across the eight cities was running at more than 11 per cent.

Sydney house prices are dragging the aggregate number lower, where property values are down 3.4 per cent over the past 12 months, the weakest result in 11 years. Melbourne is still recording annual house price growth of 3.7 per cent, although they fell in April, and Hobart is recording double-digit rates of growth.

The recent decline however needs to be put in to context as reported by the Australian Financial Review seeing that Sydney prices climbed about 75 per cent between early 2012 and mid-2018.

That being said, its still unsavoury news for the property market and adds to plenty of anecdotal chatter about shrinking crowds at inspections and stock struggling to sell. Auction clearance rates are circling 60 per cent, putting them around five-year lows, so it’s more important than ever for agents to proactively drive engagement in properties from the moment they’re listed through to auction day.

 

 

What Exactly Does An Agent Do And Do I Need One?

In today’s world of technology, there are many options for selling a home – some including the use of a real estate agent and some eliminating the agent entirely for example by using Purple Bricks. However few actually know exactly what goes into the process of selling a home, or what the benefits of having an agent is. We thought we might shed some light on this and take you through the entire process so you can decide whether an agent is right for you.

Why Use A Real Estate Agent

 Renowned for their shiny new suits and unwavering gift of the gab, agents are often the subject of humorous scrutiny amongst the community. However there are many great agents out there who offer a lot of benefits with the top three being client knowledge, market knowledge and finely tuned negotiation skills.

Sydney buyers’ agent Tracey Chandler says that a good agent knows how to turn a negative into a positive. If a potential buyer complains: ‘I don’t like the way [the property] faces,’ the agent would say, ‘but if it was the other way around you’d be looking at a wall’,” she explains. “It’s up to the agent to bring them back into the picture, and they do this with absolutely no emotional attachment, which is what you want.”

The agent also acts an arbitrator that filters information between the buyer and seller, a major asset they often don’t get credit for according to Tony Williamson, Principle RE/MAX Australia.

Knowing The Market

 As for market knowledge, an agents’ access to a database of interested buyers is crucial. With the property market being as competitive as it is currently, local agents will be able to target individuals who may have recently missed out on a similar property in your area. The element of client knowledge requires a bespoke approach from agents.

Choosing the right sales method

According to Domain, an Agents’ marketing plan runs the gamut from an off-market strategy, where promotion is minimal and agents proactively target their extensive personal database of buyers, to a fully loaded campaign of online real estate portals, print advertising, flyers, signboards and open homes, the latter deemed one of the most powerful ways to attract interest.

However, regardless of selected method, agents encourage vendors to invest in the presentation of their property. A small investment of a few thousand dollars could potentially at an extra $20k to sale price.

Photography is also a major component, with great photographs resulting in higher numbers of groups through at the first and subsequent open-for-inspections.

Method of sale can also be customised, with vendors often preferring to sell via private treaty rather than auction, and is particularly suitable for homes where there might be lower levels of buyer demand.

On the other hand, if the vendor wants a quick sale for market price and they live in a seller’s market, an auction is highly recommended.

Properties can often sell before the auction date if a buyer is keen enough.

The benefit of auctions is the process allows vendors to control the terms under which the property is offered and ensure the creation of an unconditional sale, with the added benefit of a deadline for the buyers to act – increasing the competition.

How Do I Pick One?

Word of mouth and referrals are common, and people do talk about property results both positive and negative. However it is also a good idea to do a bit of research and go to some other local auctions for similar properties in your area as well to see what is achieved, note the active bidders present, and meet the agents.

 

 

Hobart Takes The Lead In Property Demand Booms As Sydney Enters Slump Status

According to Real Estate Australia’s first Property Outlook Report, Sydney has been named Australia’s “most challenged city” following a 25 per cent plunge in property demand, whilst Hobart on the other hand is higher than anywhere in Australia.

The disheartening news for Sydneysiders is based on the number of realestate.com.au views last quarter compared with the same period last year. Whereas Hobart’s residential property market showed demand in the southernmost capital is double that of Melbourne, the second-most in demand city.

Hobart listings experienced 4500 average page views — significantly higher than Melbourne’s average of 2267.

The report also shows Hobart’s demand level has grown by 48 per cent over the past 12 months, the highest in the nation as reported by The Mercury.

Realestate.com.au chief economist Nerida Conisbee said the combination of a changing economy as well as low levels of development in Hobart had meant buyer and renter demand remained “incredibly high”.

Although this is a great outcome for homeowners, it proves to be slightly more challenging for first home-buyers and renters.

“Hobart is still the most affordable capital city, however it is starting to get expensive and this is likely to remain the case in 2018,” Ms Conisbee said.

Hobart’s biggest issue at the present time however is rental supply and new development that the city needs and is ready for, whereas previously the Tasmanian economy wasn’t in a position to support significant levels of new development.

View Chief Executive and Real Estate Institute of Australia board member Adrian Kelly said there was no doubt that Hobart was well and truly at the “top of the cycle at present” with many people trying to secure a property and turnover levels being very low.

He said this had caused a perfect storm, particularly while interest rates were so low.

“Our high rental returns are also very attractive to local and mainland purchasers alike looking to secure a rental property,” Mr Kelly said.

“The rental market is becoming difficult for families and individuals with extremely high competition.

“Some tenants have been forced into becoming a buyer out of sheer desperation to secure accommodation.”

Meanwhile, demand for properties in Devonport and Launceston has grown 42 per cent and 37 per cent respectively over the past 12 months.

However, he said buyers were well educated in terms of value.

“They don’t mind paying a premium to secure a property but if the price is obviously way too high then they won’t bother,” he said.

Notwithstanding banks, who are exercising caution in terms of valuations and lending percentages.

 

 

 

 

There’s Something About Radelaide – Interstate Demand Fuelling Adelaide’s Property Market

 

Last month, Property Journalist Andrew Street revealed in a devastatingly candid tale, why his love affair with Sydney had come to an unfortunate end, and how his love of the glistening harbour city had officially turned to “unrelenting disgust”. A bit harsh you might think?

Citing many reasons from transport and construction to public safety, Mr Street revealed the final straw was undoubtedly the most predictable – HOUSING PRICES. Specifically, the spiralling rent increases since buying had long ago ceased to be an option for his two professional income household.

“The final straw was realising that renting a large enough property within our budget for our growing family would sentence my wife, who works in the CBD, to a commute that would begin before our son was up in the morning and end after he’d gone to sleep”.

It was at this point that Mr Street decided he had to ‘Break Up With Sydney’ and move his family to Adelaide.

Although many Sydneysiders would not have necessarily agreed with Mr Street’s vicious tirade on our golden harbour city, it is no secret that Sydney housing prices are becoming a little to intense for even double income professional households, so buyers are looking elsewhere and according to an article published this week in The Advertiser, they are looking in Adelaide.

Interstate demand for Adelaide properties has reached an all-time high and up nine per cent from this time last year, with cashed-up investors from Sydney and Melbourne circling Adelaide’s residential property market, with local agents reporting a boom in inquiries from interstate buyers unable to afford properties in their own cities.

Spurred on by affordability and higher yields than those on offer in the eastern states, realestate.com.au data shows more than 4.6 million property seekers from Sydney and Melbourne eyed off Adelaide properties in 2017, nine per cent more than the previous year.

While Sydney buyers were predominantly drawn to seaside suburbs such as Glenelg and Henley Beach, Melbourne-based buyers agents had their eyes firmly set on character homes on the city fringe, driving both price growth and demand.

Auctioneer and sales agent Hamish Mill, of Harcourts Williams, said buyers’ advocates were continuously scouting properties close to the CBD with the majority of his agency’s sales now going to interstate clients.

The result also comes as no surprise to beachside sales specialist Penny Riggs of Klemich Real Estate who said demand had outstripped supply for some time.

“I’ve definitely had more interest from interstate, especially from Sydney. A lot of them come here for the weekend to watch the footy and look at real estate at the same time. There are definitely a lot of investors moving out of Sydney and looking to spend their money elsewhere. Most congregate around the $750,000 price point, and there’s plenty to buy here in Adelaide” she said.

So we must pose the question, are Sydneysiders breaking up with Sydney or is Sydney kicking us out?

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Why Let A Stranger Inspect A Property For You When You Can Use Home Live?

It’s an ongoing frustration amongst renters who are looking for a new home yet either can’t make the inspection time, or have multiple properties that they would like to inspect fall during the same time period.

But would you let a stranger go to an inspection for you?

A company in Melbourne called Propzee conducts inspections of properties for rent for people who can’t be there in person, claiming to provide its clients with a condition report on the fixtures in each room along with photos. Other property seekers have opted to use job sharing site Airtasker, again sending a totally random individual into the property to take photos. But at the risk of sounding trite, if home is where the heart is, why on earth would you rely on a person who has never met you or your family, doesn’t know your personality, your likes, dislikes and beyond, to provide you with enough information to be confident that this is the right home for you?

Domain reported in a recent article on this matter that Tenants Union Victoria chief executive Mark O’Brien said renters should be cautious when asking a third party to inspect a property on their behalf.

“Residential tenancies agreements are contracts just like any other and you should probably take them seriously – and part of taking them seriously is don’t rent something that you haven’t seen,” Mr O’Brien said.

In addition, Propzee advises its clients that the report they provide should not be used as the sole basis for making an application and they should inspect themselves. Huh? So why would you pay for an inspection service when you are advised to inspect it yourself anyway?

Home Live eliminates the need for this and the unnecessary fees via its live broadcast inspection platform, which not only allows an agent to take you through the entire property in split second time, but allows you to both interact with the agent during the broadcast – where you can ask them to zoom in on specific areas or fixtures and ask questions; in addition to activating the interactive 3D mode, which allows users to be able to virtually walk around the property, complete with furnishings, much like you would in a computer game.

Most importantly however, you can be anywhere in the world whilst tuning in to the inspection. No fees, no frustration, no strangers.

So although it is probably a good idea to inspect a property in person eventually, Home Live allows you to at least make your own decision about whether this property is right for you to inspect to begin with. And it won’t cost you a cent!

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