Australian homes

Foreigners who break the law to buy up Australian homes face legal crackdown

PHOTO: Despite the rules, Sydney (Walsh Bay, pictured) and Melbourne are the world’s least affordable housing markets, after Hong Kong and Vancouver, when property prices were compared with median incomes in a global Demographia study

  • Treasurer Josh Frydenberg wants Australians to dob in foreigners buying homes
  • An Australian Taxation Office hotline has been set up to report illegal purchases
  • Foreigners are generally restricted to buying brand new homes, need approval

Australians are being urged to dob in rich foreigners illegally buying residential properties.

Treasurer Josh Frydenberg has announced a new ‘Tip Off’ campaign to crack down on non-citizens and non-residents from getting around foreign investment laws and snapping up houses, pricing out ordinary Australians from owning their own homes.

‘While the majority of foreign investors act in good faith in complying with the law, Australians expect their government to maintain a high standard of enforcement in order to safeguard Australia’s national interest, businesses and the economy,’ he said.

Australians are being urged to dob in foreigners illegally buying residential properties under a new compliance scheme designed to stop houses becoming too expensive. Pictured is Sydney's Chinatown

Australians are being urged to dob in foreigners illegally buying residential properties under a new compliance scheme designed to stop houses becoming too expensive. Pictured is Sydney’s Chinatown

A new Australian Taxation Office hotline has been set up to report foreigners breaking the rules.

Under existing rules, foreigners who aren’t citizens or residents of Australia are restricted to buying newly built properties, in most circumstances.

They aren’t allowed to buy a substantially renovated home and need approval from the Foreign Investment Review Board for any real estate purchase including vacant residential land.

Despite the rules, many get around those laws by organising local proxies to buy properties on their behalf.

Sydney and Melbourne are nearly the least affordable housing markets in the world, after Hong Kong and Vancouver, when property prices were compared with median incomes in a global Demographia study.

In Sydney, the median house price has reached $1million, which would barely buy a basic house in the city’s western suburbs.

Parliament passed new laws this year imposing $333,000 fines for illegally buying property worth more than $5million and misleading authorities.

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