If you plan to buy a house in Australia, here's some info to help you get started.
Where To Find Properties For Sale
The most popular websites for listing property for sale are:
Real estate agents also publish weekly magazines with current property listings in the surrounding area, available from local offices.
Property In Australia Can Be Expensive!
Be prepared for the fact that property in the major capital cities is a lot more expensive in Australia than in New Zealand. Sydney, Melbourne and Perth are especially competitive due to the sheer number of people moving to these cities every week and the current housing shortage.
Thatʼs not to say you canʼt find good value anywhere, but do be prepared for a longer search. Outer suburbs and regional areas are typically more affordable, but they are also further away from public transport and places of work.
Median House Prices in Australia (CoreLogic, March 2017):
- Sydney - $805,000
- Melbourne - $605,000
- Canberra - $586,500
- Perth - $475,000
- Brisbane - $480,000
- Adelaide - $439,000
- Hobart - $355,000
- Darwin - $490,000
Professional Help With Buying A Property In Melbourne
If you're looking at buying a property in Melbourne, you might want to read about the option of using the services of a buyer advocate to help you negotiate the best price and avoid the often considerable expense of buying the wrong property.
Auctions are a very common sale method in Australian cities. Here they are typically held outside the house on the footpath in order to attract as many people as possible. For potential buyers, this can mean a high pressure situation!
First Home Owner's Scheme
As a New Zealand citizen buying property in Australia, you may be eligible for the First Home Buyerʼs grant if the property you wish to purchase or build meets the conditions of the scheme. See the official site for more information.
Purchasing or building a new home gives you more benefits under the scheme than buying an established property.
When you buy property in Australia, youʼll need to pay a local tax called stamp duty on top of the purchase price. Stamp duty is a percentage of the purchase price or market value of the property - but exactly what this percentage is varies from state to state.
First home buyers are usually eligible for a stamp duty reduction as part of the First Home Ownerʼs Scheme.
To work out how much stamp duty youʼll need to pay, you can use this stamp duty calculator.
Capital Gains Tax
If you sell your home in New Zealand before moving to Australia, you wonʼt need to pay capital gains tax as you are still a resident of New Zealand for tax purposes.
However, if you move to Australia and rent out your house in New Zealand for a time before eventually selling it, you will need to pay capital gains tax. All investment property (overseas and in Australia) is subject to capital gains tax when sold.
Capital gains tax can be complicated, so we strongly recommend speaking with an accountant for advice on your specific situation.
For more information about CGT in Australia, you can also consult these guides:
- Australian Tax Office: Introduction to Capital Gains Tax
- Australian Tax Office: Investing in Overseas Property
Getting A Mortgage In Australia
Getting a mortgage in Australia is a similar process to New Zealand. You will need to show proof of income in the form of employer payment slips and tax returns, and have a deposit of at least 10 percent (the actual deposit required by a bank varies and is dependent on your financial position and the policy of the lending bank).
Be aware that financial institutions in Australia can and often will check your credit rating in New Zealand. If you are not sure where you stand, you can get a free copy of your credit file from Equifax (formely Veda Advantage).
Itʼs a good idea to get pre-approval for a home loan before you start looking for a property so you are all ready to go when the time comes.
Useful Property Buying Guides By State
The rules and regulations for buying property in Australia do vary from state to state, so itʼs wise to learn how things work in the area youʼll be moving to before getting too far along in the buying process. Weʼve put together a list of useful guides for each state below.
- State Government of Victoria: Buying a House
- Consumer Affairs Victoria: Buying and Selling a Property
- Department of Commerce WA: Buying and Selling
- Government of Western Australia: Home Buyers and Builders
New South Wales
Still have questions about buying a home in Australia? Check out our discussion forum where you can ask questions that can be answered by us and other readers.