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Australian Properties

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See "Tightening Rules april 24 2010"

The Act & Regulations

The Act

The Foreign Acquisitions and Takeovers Act 1975 is published on ComLaw.

The Regulations

The Foreign Acquisitions and Takeovers Regulations 1989 and a list of Foreign Takeovers (Notices) Regulations 1975 are published on ComLaw

Types of Properties


Certain acquisitions do not require notification or approval under the Foreign Acquisitions and Takeovers Act 1975 (also referred to as exempt acquisitions). Please note that we do not issue exemption letters.

Real Estate

You do not need to submit an application for approval to acquire real estate in Australia if:

  • you are an Australian citizen living abroad;

  • your spouse is an Australian citizen (not a permanent resident) and you are purchasing residential real estate in both names as joint tenants (not tenants in common);

  • you are a New Zealand citizen;

  • you hold a permanent resident visa;

  • you are a temporary resident and you are purchasing:

    • single block(s) of vacant land;

    • new dwelling(s); and/or

    • a second hand dwelling to be used as your principal place of residence (including if it is going to be demolished first then redeveloped);

  • you are purchasing new dwelling(s) from the developer, where the developer has pre approval to sell those dwellings to foreign persons;

  • you are acquiring an interest in a time share scheme which does not permit you (and any of your associates) more than 4 weeks entitlement per year;

  • you are purchasing certain residential real estate in an Integrated Tourism Resort (ITR);

  • an interest in developed commercial property valued at less than $50 million or $953 million (indexed annually) for US investors, or $5 million for heritage listed properties where the acquirer is not a US investor;

  • an interest in developed commercial property where the property is to be used immediately and in its present state for industrial or non residential commercial purposes. The acquisition must be wholly incidental to the purchaser's proposed or existing business activities;

  • you are acquiring an interest by will or by operation of law (such as, a court order regarding the division of property in a divorce settlement, but not if both parties simply agree to transfer property without a court’s intervention); or

  • you are purchasing property from the Government (Commonwealth, State or Territory, or local).

Other Acquisitions (Non-Real Estate)

You do not need to submit an application for approval for acquisitions involving existing Australian corporations or businesses, or proposals to establish new businesses, which are valued below the relevant monetary thresholds.


Temporary residents’ exemption

Temporary residents are no longer required to notify proposed acquisitions of:

*       an established dwelling for their own 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).

The exemption applies to contracts entered on or after 18 December 2008 (the date that the Assistant Treasurer announced the policy changes) - that is, notification is not required even if a temporary resident signed/exchanged contracts to purchase such property before the Regulations were amended on 31 March.

The exemption includes acquisitions of property by temporary residents via their trustor Australian incorporated company.The existing notification requirements continue to apply to non-residents, who must notify all proposed acquisitions of residential real estate.

Accommodation facilities

Accommodation facilities such as hotels, motels, hostels and guesthouses are treated as commercial real estate rather than residential real estate. Acquisitions of such facilities – or individual units within them – valued below the relevant developed commercial property threshold are exempt from the FATA and do not require notification and approval.  See Accommodation Facilities for further details.

Streamlined administrative procedures

Streamlined administrative procedures have been established for non-resident foreign persons, foreign-owned companies and trust estates to notify and receive approval for proposed acquisitions of residential real estate which meet the eligibility criteria. New application forms and statutory notices have been introduced to facilitate the streamlined procedures. See How to apply for further details.

The Foreign Investment Online Application System (FIOLA) is no longer available. Applicants must download and print the new application forms, then email or fax the completed and signed forms to FIRB - please note that applications submitted on the old forms from 31 March 2009 will not be valid. In the coming months, we expect to further streamline the process to allow for electronic lodgement of applications.

As the administrative procedures are streamlined, the current system for developers seeking advance approval to sell new dwellings to foreign persons will be discontinued. Until further notice, the pre-approval arrangements that have been operating for some time will continue to operate on a case-by-case basis.  Please contact FIRB for specific advice.

The following Checklist has not been updated yet.


click here to download file Australia's Foreign Investment Policy March 2009


Government and Regulatory

Australian Foreign Investment Review Board (FIRB)

New South Wales Office of Fair Trading

New South Wales Office of State Revenue: First Home Owner Grant Scheme

New South Wales Department of Lands


New South Wales Government Portal: Property and Housing

New South Wales Heritage Council

Real Estate Institute of New South Wales

Local Government Directory - Local Councils

Australian Government Housing Affordability Fund

Australian Bureau of Statistics

Australian Tax Office

Sydney Metropolitan Strategy

Land Tax 2009 Information Booklet from the Office of State Revenue, NSW Treasury.

NSW Office of Fair Trading Documents

Auction Laws

Bidder's Guide (for residential and rural property auctions)

Buying a Home

Buying of Selling a Home

Buying Into a Strata Scheme

Common Property and the Lot


Living There - Information for Renters

Moving In - Information for Renters

Moving Out - Information for Renters

Renting Guide (English)

Renting Guide (Chinese)

Renting Guide (Indonesian)

Renting Guide (Korean)

Renting Guide (Japanese)

Renting Guide (Vietnamese)

Australian Property News

The Australian - Commercial Property and Real Estate section

Australian Financial Review - Property section

Sydney Morning Herald - Domain Property News

Daily Telegraph - Property News

Business Review Weekly - Property section - Newsletter

Westpac Property Market Information

In February each year, Westpac produces an Executive Summary that provides an outlook of where the major property markets are heading over the next three years.

Latest Macquarie Bank Real Estate Research Commentary

ANZ Australian Property Outlook

Trade Associations

Archicentre: the building advisory service of the Australian Institute of Architects.

Australian Institute of Architects

Australian Housing Industry Association

Master Builders Association Australia

Australian Institute of Quantity Surveyors

Property Council of Australia

General Information

Australian schools directory includes all Government schools (State schools) and all Private schools (Independent schools and Catholic schools). It covers all Primary schools and Secondary schools (high schools).


Sydney Buses

Sydney Ferries

Sydney Motorways

Google Maps Australia

Suburb Profiles

Noise and Flight Path Monitoring System - Sydney. Updated quarterly.

Recommended Service Providers

Financial & Tax Planning and Brokerage

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