Overseas buyers snapping up Oz property

The number of foreigners buying property in Australia has increased sharply in recent years, according to new figures.

Australian Visa FeesRecently released National Australia Bank (NAB) data shows that 12 per cent of Australian home buyers were foreign in the third quarter of 2013 – a significant increase from the 5 per cent share of overseas buyers in the third quarter of 2011.

New South Wales and Queensland would appear to be the most popular states for foreign property purchasers. Just over 16 per cent of new property was bought by foreigners in New South Wales in the three months to September 2013, compared to just 11 per cent in the previous quarter. Queensland’s share of foreign buyers in new property has remained steady at 20 per cent – the highest in the country.

However, while NAB chief economist Alan Oster says that the level of foreign buying of new property “has gone up a lot in recent years”, he is unsure as to what impact this increased interest is having on median house process in the country. “No one really knows because a lot of foreigners do not need Australian banks and the only way that we can get data is to ask the experts in the market what they think,” he explained.

Currently non-residents of Australia who wish to buy a house in Oz can purchase newly-built real estate, such as off-plan apartments, with no restrictions. In order to buy older property they would need permission from the Foreign Investment Review Board (FIRB).