With the minimal impacts of COVID-19 in Queensland, we are seeing an increasing number of New Zealand citizens wanting to purchase property here. Are you a New Zealand Citizen and looking at buying a property in Queensland? This article will provide you with a basic understanding of what is involved in doing so.
Question 1 – Do New Zealand citizens need to obtain foreign investment review board (FIRB) approval in Australia?
A New Zealand citizen is exempt from the requirement to seek FIRB approval before purchasing residential real estate in Australia. You will be treated as an Australian buyer and the regular process will be applied to you.
This exemption not only applies to an individual New Zealand citizen purchasing but also applies to the following buying entities:
– New Zealand citizens who directly hold interests in an Australian corporation; or
– a New Zealand citizen who acts as the trustee of a trust.
However, you do still need to apply and receive FIRB if you are looking to purchase a commercial property in Australia.
Question 2 – Do New Zealand citizens need to pay additional foreign acquirers duty (AFAD) in Queensland?
If you are a New Zealand citizen and holding a special category visa (subclass 444) then you are exempt from paying AFAD. Generally, all New Zealand passport holders will be granted this 444 visa when they arrive in Australia either at the airport or seaport. This visa will cease when you depart Australia.
Although, if you are still living in New Zealand then you will be required to pay AFAD, which is an additional 7% on top of the regular Transfer Duty payable.
Question 3 – As a New Zealand citizen, am I eligible for the Queensland First Home Owner Grant (FHOG)?
The Queensland FHOG provides first time home buyers with assistance to get into the property market sooner. New Zealanders who hold a special category visa will be treated as permanent residents and may be eligible for this benefit.
To be eligible for FHOG the following must apply:
- the property must be a brand new dwelling that has not been previously occupied or a substantially renovated established house;
- have previously received a first home owner grant in Australia;
- currently own property in Australia that you live in;
- have previously owned property in Australia that you lived in;
- have owned a home before 1 July 2000, whether you lived in it or not.
- You must move into your brand new home as your principal place of residence within 1 year of settlement and live there continuously for at least 6 months; and
- The new property (home and land) must be valued at $750,000 or less.
If you are eligible, you will be entitled to the $15,000 FHOG.
Question 4 – Are New Zealand citizens eligible for the Queensland home or first home transfer duty concession?
You do not need to be an Australian citizen or permanent resident to claim a transfer duty concession. To be eligible for either of these concessions you must live at the property being purchased for at least 1 year and within 1 year of the settlement.
For the first home concession, the following must also apply:
- You must have never held an interest in another residence in Australia or overseas; and
- The property mut be valued under $550,000.
If you are eligible for the first home concession and the property is under $500,000 then you will not need to pay any transfer duty. We can calculate the transfer duty concession amount on a case by case basis if the property is a first home and valued between $500,001 and $549,999 or if you are eligible for the home concession.
Question 5 – Are there any restriction with the type of property New Zealand Citizens can Purchase?
Generally, a foreign buyer can only purchase new properties in Australia. However, as New Zealanders who are holding a special category of visa are considered as exempt from FIRB then you are free to buy any residential land, existing residential property or off-the-plan residential property.
If you require assistance with purchasing a property in Queensland then please contact the property team at NB Lawyers, Lawyers for Employers for more information.
NB Lawyers – Lawyers for Employers undertake and offer an obligation free consultation – we are happy to help.
Kayleigh Swift, Associate
Yanni (Olivia) Zheng, Lawyer
About the authors
Kayleigh Swift is an associate in our Commercial and Property team who assists with Employment Law matters. With a high level of experience in commercial and retail leasing, voluntary and involuntary purchase and sale acquisitions, property development and employee relations, Kayleigh provides practical advice to ensure smooth business transactions.
Yanni (Olivia) Zheng, is a Lawyer in our Property team who assists with various conveyancing transactions. Yanni is very experienced in residential conveyancing and is a problem solver. She always provides efficient service to all her clients.