Can Brits get a mortgage in Australia?

British expatriates can indeed obtain a mortgage in Australia, but they must navigate specific requirements including visa status, financial stability, and potentially obtaining approval from the Foreign Investment Review Board (FIRB). Major Australian banks and financial institutions offer various mortgage products tailored to foreigners, although these often come with different terms based on the applicant's residency status. By carefully preparing documentation, seeking pre-approval, and consulting with financial advisors or mortgage brokers who specialise in assisting expats, Brits can successfully purchase property in Australia.

With its vibrant lifestyle and stable property market, Australia is an attractive destination for British expatriates looking to settle or invest in property. However, navigating the mortgage process in a foreign country can be daunting. This article explores the key aspects and challenges that British citizens face when applying for a mortgage in Australia, and explains how to successfully achieve the goal of buying a home here.

Eligibility Requirements for Brits

To apply for a mortgage in Australia, British expatriates must meet specific legal and financial criteria. Firstly, the type of visa held significantly influences mortgage possibilities. Most Australian lenders require applicants to hold either a permanent residency visa or a qualifying temporary resident visa. Also, lenders will scrutinise the applicant's income stability, employment status, and credit history. It's essential for British expats to have a strong financial record and, ideally, a job within Australia to increase their credibility with lenders.

Impact of Visa Status

Visa status plays a crucial role in determining eligibility and the terms of the mortgage. Permanent residents generally have access to the same mortgage products and interest rates as Australian citizens. In contrast, temporary residents may face higher interest rates and stricter loan conditions. Certain visas, such as the Skilled Independent Visa (subclass 189) or the Employer Nomination Scheme (subclass 186), are viewed more favourably by lenders because they lead to permanent residency.

Foreign Investment Review Board (FIRB) Regulations

The Foreign Investment Review Board (FIRB) governs the purchase of property by non-residents in Australia. Brits looking to buy property will likely need FIRB approval, which ensures foreign investments benefit the country. The process involves submitting an application before purchasing property, with fees varying based on the value of the property. FIRB approval is crucial as it legitimises the purchase and can be a prerequisite for securing a mortgage.

Financial Institutions and Mortgage Options

Several Australian banks and financial institutions are open to lending to British expatriates, including major banks like Commonwealth Bank, ANZ, Westpac, and NAB. These institutions offer a variety of mortgage products that cater to foreigners. It is advisable to compare these options carefully, considering interest rates, loan features, and eligibility criteria specifically tailored for expatriates. A good mortgage broker can help you compare lenders and loan products, and maximise your chances of approval as a British expat.

Additional Financial Considerations

When purchasing property in Australia, British expatriates should prepare for additional costs, including stamp duty, legal fees, and loan application fees. These can significantly add to the overall cost of buying a home. Furthermore, managing currency exchange and maintaining an Australian bank account are crucial, as fluctuations in exchange rates can impact mortgage payments and overall property costs.

Steps to Secure a Mortgage in Australia as a Brit 

Securing a mortgage as a British expat involves several steps:

  • Research: Start by researching lenders and mortgage options available for expatriates.
  • Pre-approval: Obtain pre-approval to understand how much you can borrow. This is based on your financial health and helps streamline property searching.
  • Documentation: Gather necessary documents including visa status, employment verification, and financial statements.
  • Application: Submit a formal mortgage application with your chosen lender.
  • Approval and Purchase: Once approved, you can finalise the purchase and proceed with property settlement.

Real-Life Examples and Advice

Consider the story of John, a British expat who successfully purchased a home in Sydney. John secured a mortgage through a lender that specialised in loans for foreigners after obtaining his permanent residency. He suggests working closely with a mortgage broker who understands the intricacies of the Australian property market and the specific challenges faced by expats. This advice is echoed by experts who recommend seeking professional guidance to navigate the complex process.


Obtaining a mortgage in Australia as a Brit is definitely achievable with the right preparation and understanding of the local real estate landscape. By meeting specific visa and financial requirements, obtaining necessary approvals, and choosing the right lender, British expatriates can successfully purchase property in Australia. Preparation, research, and professional advice are key to navigating this process smoothly.

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