Foreign Investment Review Board Information

Free Foreign Investor Tips & Information to Buy Residential Property in Australia Subject to F.I.R.B. Approval

What is the FIRB?

The Foreign Investment Review Board (FIRB) is a government authority that examines foreign interests intending to invest in Australia. The FIRB makes recommendations in respect of these proposed investments to the Australian Federal Government in accordance with foreign investment policies.

Non-Australian residents can purchase residential investment properties in Australia. However, the purchase must be in accordance with the guidelines administered by the FIRB.

Why Does the Government Monitor Foreign Investments?

The government monitors foreign investment to ensure that the investment will benefit Australia. In particular, foreign investors are limited to investing in new properties so that their investment adds to the existing housing stock in Australia. This is to prevent speculation which has little benefit for the Australian economy and that could result in escalating housing prices.

Did you know that the government approves the vast majority of FIRB approval applications? If you meet the guidelines provided on their website, then there are very few reasons that could cause your application to be declined.

Who is Exempted?

  • Australian citizens resident abroad;
  • Property, which is zoned residential, being purchased by foreign nationals who hold permanent resident visas or who are eligible to hold a ‘special category visa’ (e.g. a New Zealand citizen);
  • Foreign persons buying a property in which they will reside that is zoned residential, as joint tenants, with their Australian citizen spouse or de facto spouse. Note that if the property will be an investment this exemption does not apply.

What Are the Steps?

  • Obtain FIRB approval prior to entering into a house or land contract to purchase; or
  • The contract of sale can be entered into so long as it is conditional upon FIRB approval;
  • Auction Buyers: FIRB approval is required prior to participating at the auction to buy.

How Do I Apply?

It’s easy, just click here to go to the where you can download an application. http://firb.gov.au/applications/apply-now/

What is Classed as Residential Real Estate?

Residential real estate means all Australian urban land other than commercial properties (that is offices, factories, warehouses, restaurants, shops, etc.). Acquisitions of ‘hobby farms’ and ‘rural residential’ blocks by foreign interests are included in the residential real estate category.

Are Non-Residential Purchasers Encouraged by the Australian Government?

Yes, it is in the interest of the government to encourage non-residents to buy investment properties. By contributing to the supply of new dwellings, many of which would become available to Australian residents, either for purchase or rent, greater stability of house prices and the affordability of housing for Australians is achieved. Also, the flow on effect from the economic benefits contribute to the economic growth in Australia.

Where Can I Find More Information?

Visit the FIRB website.

 recommends that you seek advice from the relevant Australian government authorities, your immigration agent and/or solicitor before considering to purchase.