New Zealand citizens who are currently living in Australia are treated the same as Australian Permanent Residents. When a New Zealand citizen arrives in Australia, they are automatically granted a Special Category Visa (Subclass 444).
To purchase property in Australia, generally all foreign buyers need to obtain Foreign Investment Review Board (FIRB) Approval first, however, as New Zealand Citizens are granted the Special Category Visa, they are exempt from needing approval when purchasing residential property, whether or not they are living in Australia at the time of the purchase.
However, if you are a New Zealand citizen looking to purchase either a rurally classed or commercial property, you will need to first apply for FIRB approval before purchasing.
Do I need to pay any additional transfer duty?
The Australian Government has a transfer duty (previously called stamp duty) surcharge called Additional Foreign Acquirer Duty (AFAD) for foreigners that are purchasing property in Australia. The current AFAD rate is an additional 7% of the purchase price/value of the property.
If you are a New Zealand citizen that has been granted the Special Category Visa, you are exempt from needing to pay any AFAD as long as you were in Australia when you signed the contract and at the time of settlement. It is important to note that you are not able to come into Australia purposely to sign a contract and avoid AFAD.
Transfer duty amounts can vary state to state. In Queensland, you are moving into the property or it is the first property you have ever purchased, you can still be eligible to obtain the First Home or Home Concession on transfer duty, as you are treated as a permanent resident. It is best to confirm the amount of transfer duty payable with your Solicitor.
Do I need to be living in Australia to buy property in Australia?
You do not need to be living in Australia to buy property in Australia, however, as mentioned above, you may need to pay additional transfer duty if you are not in Australia when the contract is signed and settles. Further, if you are not in Australia, it may affect your ability to obtain a loan and affect interest rates.
If you are signing a contract and unsure whether you need to apply for FIRB approval or whether you will be required to pay AFAD, please contact FC Lawyers to assist.
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