Overseas Buyer

New dwellings

Foreign non-residents will normally be allowed to purchase new dwellings in Australia without being subject to any conditions. There is no limit on the number of new dwellings a foreign non-resident may purchase, but approval is generally required prior to each acquisition.

A new dwelling is a dwelling that will be, is being, or has been built on residential land, has not been previously sold as a dwelling, and has either:

  • not been previously occupied; or
  • if the dwelling is part of a development (50 or more dwellings) and was sold by the developer of that development, has not been previously occupied for more than 12 months in total.

New dwellings do not include established residential property that has been refurbished or renovated.

A single dwelling that has been built to replace one or more demolished established dwellings would generally not be treated as a new dwelling for the purposes of Australia’s foreign investment framework.

Vacant land

Foreign non-residents will generally be allowed to purchase vacant land for residential dwelling development subject to conditions. The conditions usually imposed are:

  • the development must be completed within four years from the date of approval; and
  • evidence of completion of the dwellings is submitted within 30 days of being received. This could include a final occupancy or builder’s completion certificate.

In exceptional circumstances where the development cannot be completed within the specified four years, the foreign non-resident could apply for a variation to the condition. The application for a variation must be made at least two months prior to the end of the period. A fee will apply for this. Variations will be considered on a case-by-case basis. For more information, see Guidance Note 19.

Vacant land that previously had a dwelling on the land will generally not be treated as vacant for the purposes of Australia’s foreign investment framework. As such, foreign persons will generally not be eligible to purchase vacant land that previously had a dwelling built on it (unless they are proposing to construct multiple dwellings on the land which will increase the housing stock).

Established dwellings for redevelopment

Foreign non-residents will normally be allowed to purchase an established dwelling for redevelopment in Australia provided the redevelopment genuinely increases the housing stock.

Such proposals are normally approved subject to conditions that:

  • the existing dwelling cannot be rented out prior to demolition and redevelopment;
  • the existing dwelling is demolished and construction of the new dwellings are completed within four years of the date of approval; and
  • evidence of completion of the dwellings is submitted within 30 days of being received by the applicant. This could include a final occupancy or builder’s completion certificate.

Foreign non-residents will generally not be approved to purchase an established dwelling to redevelop into a single new dwelling. For more information, see Guidance Note 6.

Established dwellings

An established dwelling is a dwelling (except commercial residential premises such as hotels, motels and caravan parks) on residential land that is not a new dwelling.

Foreign non-residents cannot purchase established dwellings as homes, for use as a holiday home or to rent out.

Foreign persons that operate a substantial Australian business may apply to purchase established dwellings to house their Australian based employees. Eligible applications are normally approved subject to conditions, including that the dwelling is sold if it is expected to remain vacant for more than six months. Whether a business is eligible to purchase established dwellings to house their Australian-based employees is subject to a number of factors. For more information, see Guidance Note 7.

Investment visa 188C

The Business Innovation and Investment (Provisional) visa (subclass 188) is part of the Business Innovation and Investment Programme.

You must submit an Expression of Interest (EOI) through Skill Select and be nominated by a state or territory government or Austrade on behalf of the Australian government before being invited to apply for this visa.

The visa includes four streams:

  • Business Innovation stream: for people with business skills who want to establish, develop and manage a new or existing business in Australia. Applicants must be nominated by a state or territory government.
  • Investor stream: for people who want to make a designated investment of at least AUD1.5million in an Australian state or territory and maintain business and investment activity in Australia. Applicants must be nominated by a state or territory government.
  • Significant Investor stream: for people who are willing to invest at least AUD5million into complying significant investments in Australia and want to maintain business and investment activity in Australia. Applicants can be nominated by a state or territory government or Austrade on behalf of the Australian government.
  • Premium Investor stream: for people who are willing to invest at least AUD15million into complying premium investments in Australia and want to maintain business and investment activity in Australia. Applicants must be nominated by Austrade on behalf of the Australian government.

Holding this visa is the first stage before becoming eligible to qualify for a Business Innovation and Investment (Permanent) visa (subclass 888).

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