Australia’s property market has allowed foreign investors to benefit from constant access to favourable lending options for years.
However, a recent surge in foreign investor activity has caused a rethink in lending policy that affects all nationalities. As such, anyone looking to buy a property while living abroad or in preparation for migration to Australia must know the new lending environment.
Can I still get a loan?
Many banks have now stopped lending to foreign nationals as an internal policy decision. The rules have also been tightened for Aussie expats, but it is not impossible to get a loan. You will just need to shop around or consider consulting a finance expert. This will give you access to all of the lending options. But make sure you know all of your choices. Look for a finance broker who is experienced in lending to overseas buyers and migrants in order to get a loan suited to your needs.
How much can I borrow?
The amount has been reduced to 70 percent for non-Australian buyers. Likewise, take into account the additional Stamp Duty for foreign buyers in Victoria (7 percent), New South Wales (8 percent) and Queensland (7 percent) as well as the usual purchaser’s Stamp Duty, which ranges from 2 to 6 percent. The Federal Government also has a foreign buyer’s fee of A$5,500 for purchases less than A$1 million, which rises further as the property value increases.
These foreign buyer fees do not apply to Australian citizens. Additionally, permanent resident (PR) visa holders are also exempt to foreign buyer fees in all states except New South Wales, where the fee is charged if the PR visa holder has not lived in Australia for more half of the previous year.
The combination of lower levels of financing and higher entry costs may significantly impact your purchasing budget, so it is best to seek a pre-approval of your loan so you know how much you can afford when looking at property options. However, the State and Federal Fees do not apply to Australian citizens or permanent residents.
What are the costs of getting a loan?
Most banks will charge an application fee of approximately A$600 to A$1,000, which includes all legal fees, documentation and a sworn valuation of the property. Your broker should not charge you fees for assisting you – if he or she is appropriately licensed, the bank should pay them a referral fee. You will also need to pay a lawyer or settlement agent to attend to the exchange of your property and ensure all documentation is in order. This isn’t part of your loan costs, but is necessary to transfer the property correctly to you.
From The Finder (Issue 293), June 2018
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