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Mortgages and other Financial Issues

Australia - Mortgages and other Financial Issues

Each state has a number of regulations which differ slightly to each other but the basic system for obtaining a mortgage is the same across the country.

If you have been able to obtain permanent residency status in France you will be eligible for a First Home Owner’s Grant which entitles you to an amount of $7000 which can be put towards the cost of your first home in Australia. This is in addition to any home loan that you are able to obtain. Home loans are granted on the basis of your visa entitlements and the credit rating that you have. Some expats may have to make an application to the Foreign Investment Review Board (FIRB) in order to obtain permission to purchase a property.

As with other countries you may be limited in how much you can borrow. Lenders have different criteria and they will also take into account the current state of the financial markets. If you only have a temporary visa to remain in the country there are a number of lenders who will not lend more than 80% of the value of the property. Those who are in the country on a Doctor’s working visa, those who have permanent residency status and those who have come to the country on a spouse visa will be able to borrow between 90 and 95% of the value of the house, depending upon the policy of the individual lender. However, much will depend upon the income of the applicant, the credit rating that they had in their home country and how long they have been working in Australia.

Expats are not expected to pay higher charges or interest rates simply because they are not Australian, although you may find that there are fewer lenders who are willing to offer home loans to foreign nationals.

There are a number of other fees which are involved in the purchase of a home in Australia. Stamp duty is payable on the majority of homes, although occasionally an expat who is a first time buyer may find that they are exempt from this charge. This will depend upon the state as each has different regulations. Stamp duty varies although the average cost is around $2000 on a home valued at $100,000. New South Wales has a scheme which allows first time buyers to avoid the charge providing the value of their new home is worth less than $500,000. Victoria offers a cash grant to help first time buyers to meet the cost of stamp duty. In some states first time buyers are able to make an application for a discount on stamp duty if they are on a low income.

There will be a fee payable when you make an application to the lender for the funds to buy the home and you will need to take out the lender’s mortgage insurance. Every mortgage incurs a registration fee which is a fee payable to the government.

There are fees which are payable for the transfer of lands as well as the fees charged by the solicitor who represents you in the purchase. The land transfer fee is variable from state to state but may be in the form of a flat fee or a percentage of the purchase price. The legal fees can be up to 2% of the final purchase price of the property but again, this will vary from state to state. Conveyancy fees are in addition to legal fees and are charged for the documentation connected with the house purchase. This can be in the region of $1500, but this also depends on the state.

Home insurance is also a necessity and this is an ongoing charge but many lenders will make this compulsory and you will not be able to avoid it. This is mainly buildings insurance. Contents insurance is rarely a condition of a mortgage.

Gift tax is only payable in respect to a home if you are given a house with the intention of earning money from it. Capital gains tax is only payable when you come to sell the house and make a profit on it and this is charged at the standard income tax rate. Inheritance tax does not cause any particular problems when buying a home as it does not exist in Australia.

Read more about this country

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