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Housing in Australia


Popular areas for expatriates are Sydney (Mosman, Neutral Bay, Cremorne, Pymble, Roseville, Lindfield, St Ives, Wahroonga, etc.), Melbourne (Toorak, South Yarra, Hawthorn/Kew) and Brighton.

There is good quality housing available for expatriates in the cities and suburbs. Most expatriates rent houses instead of buying them. The most common type of accommodation is a detached house (normally single-storey) or bungalow with three or four bedrooms. There are increasingly more apartments available as well.

Cost of housing varies from area to area and the size of the house or apartment. You'll pay anything from $400 up to $3,000 a week.

Buying a Property

The policy of the Government of the Commonwealth of Australia in regards to residential real estate is an inward-looking, conservative one, to say the least. Acquisition of residential real estate by foreign nationals and corporations is subject to Foreign Investment Review Board (FIRB) approval. FIRB approval is not required by Australian citizens resident abroad, or for acquisitions in residential-zoned properties by foreign nationals holding permanent resident or “special category” visas (i.e. New Zealand citizens), or by foreign nationals purchasing with their Australian spouse as joint tenant.

Priority is given to foreign investment in areas that would directly increase housing stock. Not only would the quantity of the housing stock would be affected, it would also bring benefits to the local construction industry and their suppliers. The wariness of the government on foreign influx in developed residential real estate stems from a desire to avoid excess demand, create greater stability of housing prices as well as encourage the supply of new dwellings that would benefit Australians, whether through ownership or lease.

Since government approval is obligatory in acquiring residential real estate in Australia, it is inadvisable to sign a contract before securing approval from the FIRB, unless the contract allows for a grace period for securing government approval, prior to completion.

Buying property involves the following steps:

• the seller must secure a title search, plans, easements and covenants recorded in title from the Land and Property Information department. These documents must be attached to the Contract of Sale;

• the seller should also secure a Zoning Certificate from the Municipal Council as well as Drainage Diagram from the Local Water Authority;

• the solicitor for the buyer must then prepare a transfer form (given that there are no outstanding interests in the property) for execution of the sale;

• the contract and transfer form must then be sent to the Office of State Revenue, where it is stamped and duties settled;

• the transfer form and certificate of title are then sent to the Land and Property Information Department for registration.

As one of the most well known cities in Australia, Sydney is a popular location for property buying. The culture within the city is quite multicultural. There are more than 4.2 million people in the metropolitan area, offering something for everyone. For those who want to ensure their investment is a wise one, Sydney is an important place to call home. It provides a range of outstanding benefits, including the fact that it sees substantial capital gains over the long term.

You do not have to live within the city itself. Rather, some of the best places for foreign buyers are in the suburbs. If you wish to buy a significant property, the city has 25 neighbourhoods surrounding it where the median price is more than $1 million. However, locations like the Hills District, Upper North Shore and Inner West all offer much more affordable options.

Other locations that are popular for their real estate benefits include Melbourne, Brisbane, Perth, Adelaide and Canberra. In addition to these cities, the Gold Coast is also quite popular especially for those looking for a larger amount of land for a lower cost. Queensland is spacious and extraordinarily beautiful naturally, which is why so many are drawn to this area. The Central Coast also offers a number of natural settings including log homes.

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