Owning a property in Australia – as a migrant

Can I own a property in Australia as a migrant?

Good news is, yes! You can own a property in Australia even if you are a migrant. When moving, there are a number of things you have to take care of and creating a bank account, enrolling your child/children in school and getting your driver’s license are just a few of them.
Apart from these, you need to prepare the documents and application for your visa – a process we’d be happy to help you with! One less thing to worry about 🙂

Whether you are moving to Australia on a permanent or temporary residency visa, you’ll be very occupied with various things which demand your attention. However, when you have comfortably settled into the area, it is only natural for you to start considering things which will make you feel like a local and your best bet is purchasing your own property.

However, purchasing a property is a big decision. It requires in depth research and constant guidance. It’s crucial to understand every aspect of the terms and conditions attached to purchasing property, especially as a migrant.

Some of the basic information you need in order to purchase a property is provided as below:

People allowed to buy property in Australia

Needless to say, Australian citizens along with permanent residents are allowed to purchase property- but one surprising fact which many migrants are unaware of, is that you do not have to be a permanent resident in Australia to own a property here. Even as a temporary Australian resident, you can own property as long as you comply with the terms stated by the Foreign Investment Board; More on that, later.

Don’t know if you are a temporary resident or not?

A temporary resident is someone residing in Australia with a visa that allows them to live there for more than 12 months. Tourists and visitor visa-holders do not fall into this category as they can only live in Australia for 3-12 months.
Please note someone who has applied for a permanent residency visa and has been given a bridging visa for the waiting period will also be considered a temporary resident- such a person can also buy and own property in Australia as long as it is approved by the FIRB.

When it comes to owning property as a temporary resident, however, there are certain conditions that need to be met and they are-

  • You can only purchase one established/second-hand dwelling. There are no restrictions on the number of new dwellings and dwellings built on vacant land.
  • The dwelling purchased must be your principal residence.
  • A pre-established/second-hand dwelling cannot be rented out (to others) but new dwellings can be.
  • An established/second-hand dwelling purchased by a temporary resident must be sold when leaving Australia. However, new dwellings can be retained and rented out.

Before buying a property, you also have to get approval from the board mentioned above (unless you have a special exemption from such a requirement). If you’d like to know whether you’re exempted or not, the he FIRB can give a feedback in as little as 30 days.

What happens if your partner is in a different resident class?
If you are a visa-holder who wants to purchase property with an Australian citizen or your partner’s resident class differs from yours, you may have to get approval from the FIRB before buying a property. Either way, it is advised that you look up the “Frequently Asked Questions” section on the FIRB website for further information- here, you’ll see various examples of couples who wish to purchase property in Australia just like you. Another option you have is to get in touch with the Foreign Investment Review Board for clarification concerning your personal circumstances.


How to get a mortgage as a migrant

Just like visa policies, laws regarding finance options for people migrating to Australia can change unexpectedly. As a migrant, you may also be required to have a deposit which is larger than usual due to challenges you may face in getting mortgage insurance (this is necessary when you want to borrow more than 80% of the property’s entire value). In spite of this, Brenton Farrar of Australian Mortgage Brokers says that it is true that some mortgage insurance companies do not provide insurance for migrants as their long-term employment and bank account history can’t be verified. However, he also states that more financial institutions are starting to do so in recent times based on their level of presence in the migrant’s country of origin and such institutions include Bank of China, NAB, Westpac, and HSBC.

Farrar adds that using a mortgage broker is a smart move to make for migrants who want to buy property in Australia as this helps to make sure that they get the most favorable rate available. According to him, finance options and mortgages can be tricky most times particularly when you have to negotiate and deal with lenders. However, with a mortgage broker such as one at AMB can help you as a migrant to get the best deal. Apart from this, they can also help with difficulties that may come up such as translation, a lack of verifiable documents and a lack of work history.


Our MARA registered immigration agents understand how stressful the migration process can be. Unlike most other migration law firms, our lawyer actually explain every step of the process in a no-jargon manner. In addition to this, we provide constant on call support. Contact us on hello@pathmigration.com for a Free Assessment and advice on your options for migrating to Australia.

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NOTE: The information provided in this blog can not be construed as “legal advice”. You should not act based on the information provided here without consulting a registered MARA agent. Migration law is complex and changes very frequently, while we ensure our content is accurate, we can not vouch for how concurrent it is. To clarify any of your doubts call us on +61 2 8815 8135

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