Non-Resident Home Loans In Australia

Find out how to get a home loan, the regulations that apply and everything else about non-resident lending in Australia with Savvy.

Last updated on April 20th, 2022 at 05:00 pm by Cate Cook

Non-resident home loans in Australia

Whether you can buy property in Australia if you’re a non-resident will be determined by your personal circumstances.  Savvy looks at options for non-residents and explores the rules around non-resident home loans in Australia.

How can I get a home loan as a non-resident of Australia?

This will depend on your particular circumstances when applying for a home loan.  If you’re applying for a home loan as an Australian citizen who is not currently living in Australia, the ease with which you’ll be able to get a loan will differ from if you are a foreign national wishing to invest in Australian real estate. 

On the other hand, you may be living in Australia, but be a non-resident in legal terms – for instance, if you’re living in the country on a temporary visa.  In these circumstances, the requirements for applying for a home loan are very different.  Fortunately, there are many companies specialising in non-resident lending in Australia.

Australian citizens living overseas

If you’re an Australian citizen who happens to be living overseas (called an expatriate, commonly known as expats) you should have no legal problems applying for a home loan to buy a property in Australia.  You won’t have to return to Australia to sign documentation, as e-signatures are used on most loan documents.

The interest rate you may be offered should be comparable to the interest rate offered to you if you were living in Australia, although some lenders do charge a slightly higher interest rate for expats.  Savvy can help you in your home loan journey, comparing interest rates and home loans so you can find a loan that is just right for your individual needs.

You won’t need to apply to the Foreign Investment Review Board (FIRB) because you aren’t considered a foreign national or a non-resident by legal definition.  Some of the larger banks also allow citizens living overseas who receive their salary in another currency (particularly American dollars, or other major currencies such as the British pound or the Euro) to pay some or all of their loan repayments in the currency in which they’re paid, avoiding currency conversion fees.

 If you’re living in Australia but aren’t an Australian citizen

If you’re a non-resident in legal terms but are living in Australia on a visa, the ease with which you can get a non-resident mortgage in Australia will depend on your visa category.  Traditionally, migrants holding a temporary skilled work visa were eligible to be approved for home loans as long as their visa had at least 12 months remaining. 

However, the temporary skilled work visa has been replaced with the Temporary Skill Shortage (TSS) visa, although this visa category was closed down by the Australian government during COVID-19 restrictions and, as of February 2022, has not yet been re-opened. 

Because visa regulations are subject to frequent change, it’s best to consult a visa specialist or a trusted financial advisor to find out if you are eligible to buy property in Australia on your current visa.  This also applies to legal non-residents who are partnered with Australian citizens and wish to make a joint home loan application.  Additionally, you should discuss with your lender prior to applying which visas are accepted for home loan applications.

If you’re a foreign national (not living in Australia) wishing to invest in the Australian property market

If you are a foreign national, you can buy property in Australia as an investment, but there are certain restrictions and you’ll need to apply to FIRB to have your application approved.  The Australian government encourages foreign investors to buy new properties or vacant land to build on.  If you do wish to buy land ready for development, there will probably be a stipulation that you build on that vacant block within four years.  There are also restrictions on re-selling investment property: you won’t be permitted to sell a residential development until it’s completed.  

If you’re a New Zealand citizen and resident of Australia

Because Australia and New Zealand have long had a free-trade agreement (which was first established in 1966), New Zealand citizens can get a non-resident home loan in Australia just as if they were Australian citizens. This is because when New Zealanders arrive in Australia, they are automatically granted a Special Category Visa (also known as a 444 visa) which provides almost the same rights as an Australian citizen.  Therefore, you’ll be eligible to apply for cheap home loans and receive the same interest rate as if you were an Australian citizen, although you’ll find it easier to get home loan approval if you are living in Australia at the time you apply for your loan. 

If you’re a New Zealand citizen living in New Zealand when you wish to purchase Australian property, you may need to apply to a lender who specialises in providing non-resident mortgages in Australia.

More questions about non-resident home loans in Australia

What is foreign purchaser additional duty (FPAD) and will I have to pay it?

FPAD is a stamp duty surcharge of 7% which was introduced in 2018 on foreign citizens wanting to buy property in Australia.  It is collected and administered by all the states, but not the territories (the NT doesn’t charge this additional duty and the ACT charges a land tax surcharge on foreign nationals).  As regulations vary from state to state, you should check your state government website to find out if you are required to pay FPAD.  Use Savvy’s stamp duty calculator to find out how much stamp duty you may be required to pay depending on the value of the property you wish to purchase.

What size deposit will I need for my home loan?

The amount you’re able to borrow will almost certainly be capped at 80% of the value of the property you wish to purchase, so you’ll be required to provide a deposit of 20%.  This is the standard size deposit required by most home loan lenders in Australia.  There are home loans available which require smaller deposits (such as 90% LVR home loans), but it’s unlikely that a non-resident would be approved for such a loan except in exceptional circumstances, such as if a guarantor or additional security was offered for the loan.

Will my credit rating in my home country be transferred to Australia?

In most cases, no – the credit details you have in your home country will not be transferred to Australia.  The exception to this is if you are a New Zealand citizen.  Because the two countries share the same credit system, credit information from New Zealand will affect a home loan applied for to buy property in Australia.

What fees will I be charged by the FIRB for my application?

Foreign persons are required to pay a fee each time an application is made to FIRB.  The fee charged will depend on the value of the application to be considered.  For residential land, fees start at $6,350 for an acquisition of $1 million or less, rising to a capped maximum of $503,000 for acquisitions of more than $40 million.

Are the same home loan terms available to non-residents?

Home loan terms (the length of time over which a lender will allow a borrower to pay back their loan) generally apply to non-residents in the same way they apply to Australian citizens.  However, lenders may be influenced by the length of time a non-resident has left on their visa when they agree to the term of the loan, so you may not always be approved for the same term length as a resident in certain circumstances.