Overseas Buyers

The Australian Government's foreign investment policy has been developed to encourage investment in Australia and ensure that such investment is consistent with the needs of the Australian community. The Government recognises the important contribution offshore investment makes to the development of Australia's industry, resources and community.

Foreign persons should notify the Government and get prior approval to acquire an interest in certain types of Real Estate. An 'interest' includes buying Real Estate but can also include obtaining or agreeing to enter into a lease, or financing or profit sharing arrangements.

Real Estate covers acquisitions of the following types of properties in Australia:

Residential Real Estate means all land and housing that can be used for residential purposes.  It does not include commercial real estate or rural land.  

The following links provide information and guidance about obtaining FIRB approval to buy residential real estate: 

  • Click on the links for information about what a Temporary Resident [PDF 229KB] [RTF 3.2MB] can and cannot buy and what a Non-Resident [PDF 155KB] [RTF 3.2MB] can and cannot buy.
  • Further information about what residential real estate you may be eligible to apply for and how to apply can be found at: Residential Real Estate.
  • Answers to more specific questions can be found using the search function at: FAQ.

See below for the definition of ‘foreign persons’ and details of exemptions are available from the FIRB website

Click to Apply to the FIRB - On line Application.

Definition of Foreign Investment

A foreign interest is briefly described as:

  1. A person not ordinarily resident in Australia
  2. A corporation, business or trust in which a foreigner and any associates have 15% or more ownership or in which several foreigners have 40% or more aggregate of the ownership.
  3. A Temporary resident’ including all foreign nationals living in Australia who;
    • Holds a valid temporary visa which permits them to stay in Australia for a continuous period of more than 12 months (irrespective of how much time is remaining until that visa expires);
    • Have submitted an application for permanent residency (PR), and hold a bridging visa which permits them to stay in Australia until their PR application has been finalised

Short-term visitors such as tourists, business people and those here for a medical procedure are not temporary residents.


Proposed acquisition of residential real estate is exempt from examination in the case of Australian citizens living abroad who are holders of permanent visas or entitled to hold a 'special category' visa. Other situations where approval is normally granted includes:

  1. Foreign nationals purchasing residential real estate as joint tenant with an Australian spouse.
  2. Foreign companies purchasing second hand dwellings for the use of their Australian based staff provided that they sell or rent the dwelling if it is expected to remain vacant for more than 6 months. There is no limit to the number of established dwellings which can be purchased, where required for employee accommodation.
  3. Foreign nationals being Temporary Residents [i] purchasing:
    • An established dwelling to be used as their principal place of residence (not for investment purposes);
    • Any new dwellings; and
    • Single blocks of vacant residential land (other acquisitions of vacant land will require notification and will normally be approved subject to development within 24 months).
  4. Foreign students resident in Australia are able to purchase an established dwelling as their principal place of residence. [ii]

Please note as legislation is subject to change, we recommend you consult the FIRB prior to purchasing one of our properties.


** we are an independent Real Estate Agency and not a Commonwealth government entity. DPI is not affiliated to the Department of Defence or Defence Housing Australia.**