In brief - Conditions apply to the purchase of property
by foreign persons
The conditions which apply to the purchase of Australian real
estate by foreign persons vary depending on the type of property
and on whether or not the foreign person is a temporary
Foreign persons buying property need foreign investment
If you are a foreign person intending to buy real estate in
Australia, you should make your purchase contracts conditional on
foreign investment approval, unless you already have approval or
you are exempt. Significant penalties may apply to ineligible
owners of real estate.
Assessing the national interest in property
The government reviews foreign investment proposals against the
national interest case by case. It can block proposals that are
contrary to the national interest or apply conditions to the way
proposals are implemented to ensure they are not contrary to the
In assessing the national interest, the government typically
considers national security, competition, other policies (including
tax), the character of the investor and the impact on the economy
and the community.
For a foreign government or a related entity, the government
will consider whether the investment is commercial in nature or if
the investor may be pursuing broader political or strategic
objectives that may be contrary to Australia's national
If an investment is contrary to the national interest, the
government will intervene. This occurs infrequently.
What types of real estate are covered by foreign
The types of real estate covered are:
residential real estate (including property that is zoned other
than residential real estate but including a component of
commercial real estate
urban land corporations/trusts, ie the trust or corporation
holds more than 50 per cent of its assets in urban land (vacant or
Residential property purchases by foreign
It is the government's overarching policy that investment in
residential real estate should increase Australia's housing
stock (at least two dwellings built for the one demolished, unless
derelict or uninhabitable). Most proposals that further this policy
will be approved.
The table below summarises the types of interest in residential
real estate that will normally be approved with the stated
A second-hand (established) dwelling is a dwelling previously
owned by a party other then the original developer or occupied for
a period of more than 12 months.
A new dwelling is a dwelling not previously sold or occupied,
including off the plan.
Commercial property purchases by foreign
Commercial property includes offices, factories, warehouses,
hotels, motels, guesthouses, restaurants, shops and rural property
which is not used for primary production.
Rural land purchases by foreign persons
Rural land is land used wholly and exclusively for carrying on a
business of primary production. The business must be substantial
and have a commercial purpose or character.
A foreign person needs approval to buy an interest in a primary
production business where the total assets of the business exceed
$244 million (or $1062 million for US investors).
All foreign governments and their related entities should notify
the government and get prior approval before acquiring any interest
in rural land.
Purchase of mining tenements by foreign
Established forestry businesses are treated as rural land.
The Council announced planning policies to encourage more inner suburban retirement village and aged care development.
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