Can foreigners get a mortgage in Australia?

Foreigners can indeed obtain a mortgage in Australia, but they must navigate specific regulatory and financial requirements. They need to secure approval from the Foreign Investment Review Board (FIRB), meet certain visa and residency conditions, and likely face higher down payments and additional fees compared to local buyers. By researching mortgage options, understanding the associated costs, and seeking professional financial advice, foreign buyers can successfully purchase property in Australia.

Australia's robust economy and attractive lifestyle options make it a popular destination for foreigners  wanting to move to Australia, or invest in real estate. However, navigating the mortgage process as a non-resident can be complex due to various legal and financial requirements. This article provides a comprehensive overview of what foreigners need to know to successfully secure a mortgage in Australia.

Eligibility Criteria for Foreigners

Foreign nationals wishing to purchase property in Australia must first meet specific eligibility criteria related to their visa and residency status. The type of visa—whether temporary or permanent—can significantly influence mortgage options. Permanent residents generally have fewer restrictions and can access a wider range of mortgage products similar to Australian citizens. In contrast, temporary residents face more stringent requirements, including higher down payments and additional approval processes.

Role of the Foreign Investment Review Board (FIRB)

The Foreign Investment Review Board (FIRB) plays a crucial role in monitoring and regulating foreign investment in Australian real estate. All foreign buyers must obtain FIRB approval before purchasing property, which involves submitting an application along with fees that vary depending on the value of the property. FIRB approval is essential as it ensures that the investment is in line with national interests and complies with Australian laws.

Types of Properties Foreigners Can Purchase

There are specific restrictions on the types of properties that foreigners can purchase in Australia. Generally, non-residents are only allowed to buy new properties or vacant land for development. Purchasing established dwellings is typically restricted to those who hold permanent residency or specific visas that grant similar rights. Additionally, some states may have their own regulations that further restrict foreign property ownership.

Mortgage Options Available to Foreigners

Several Australian banks and financial institutions offer mortgage products specifically designed for foreigners. These products often come with different terms and interest rates compared to those offered to residents. Foreign buyers should compare mortgage options from major banks such as Commonwealth Bank, ANZ, Westpac, and NAB, as well as smaller lenders that may provide more flexible terms for international clients.

Financial Requirements

To obtain a mortgage in Australia, foreigners must meet certain financial requirements. This typically includes a significant deposit (often 20-30% of the property’s value), proof of stable income, and a good credit history. Australian lenders may also assess international assets and income to determine a foreign buyer's borrowing capacity. Proper documentation and evidence of financial stability are key to securing a mortgage.

Additional Costs Involved

Buying property in Australia involves several additional costs that foreigners need to consider. These include stamp duty, which varies by state and can be quite high for foreign buyers, legal fees, loan application fees, and possibly lender’s mortgage insurance if the down payment is less than 20%. Furthermore, fluctuations in exchange rates can significantly affect the total cost of purchasing and financing property in Australia.

Steps to Apply for a Mortgage as a Foreigner

Applying for a mortgage as a foreigner involves several steps:

  • Research: Investigate different lenders and their mortgage products for foreigners.
  • Pre-approval: Obtain mortgage pre-approval to understand how much you can borrow based on your financial status.
  • Documentation: Gather necessary documents such as visa details, proof of income, credit history, and any other required financial records.
  • Application: Submit a formal mortgage application along with your FIRB approval, if necessary.
  • Approval and Purchase: Once approved, you can proceed with purchasing your Australian property.

Challenges and Considerations

Foreigners may face several challenges when applying for a mortgage in Australia, including potentially higher interest rates and stricter lending criteria. It is crucial for non-residents to be aware of these challenges and prepare accordingly. Seeking advice from financial advisors or mortgage brokers who specialise in foreign property purchases can provide invaluable assistance in navigating these complexities.


While obtaining a mortgage in Australia as a foreigner involves navigating a series of complex processes and regulations, it is entirely feasible with the right preparation and guidance. By understanding the FIRB regulations, eligibility requirements, and financial obligations, and by consulting with professionals, foreigners can successfully invest in Australian real estate. It's important to approach this process with thorough research and proper financial planning to ensure a smooth transaction and a profitable investment.

If you're considering purchasing property in Australia, start by consulting with mortgage brokers or financial advisors who specialise in helping foreigners. Their expertise will be crucial in helping you understand your options and guiding you through the mortgage application process.

You may also like

Get in touch

0 of 350