If you are a foreigner interested in investing in Australian real estate, you have to submit an application with the Foreign Investment Review Board. Getting your application approved can be difficult, but it may be possible to improve your chances if you invest in a retirement home.
Here are a few facts to consider:
1. The FIRB approvals process takes 30 days.
You need 30 days for the FIRB to approve or deny your application. If you have found your dream home for retirement but it's currently occupied, the family living in it may not be willing to wait 30 days to find out if your application has been approved. In most cases, sellers who are residing in the home simply don't have that much time.
However, if you buy a home in a new development such as a home in a retirement villa, you often have extra time. The homes are still in the process of being built in many cases, and the developer may even work with foreign investors on a regular basis.
2. The FIRB has special rules for properties in proposed developments.
The FIRB allows developers of new properties, including retirement villas full of new townhomes or condos, to set aside a certain percentage of their development for foreign investors. This is referred to as "buying off the plan", and it can make the approvals process easier.
3. Buying a retirement home from a developer grants you special privileges.
In most cases, foreign investors are not allowed to buy homes unless they plan to reside in them. However, if you buy a home directly from a developer, you get special privileges. Namely, you can rent out or sell it. This is ideal if you are not quite ready to retire -- you can buy the home, rent it out and then move in when you retire. If you change your mind about retiring in Australia, you can simply sell the property.
4. Long stay retirees have a better chance of being approved by the FIRB.
If you are ready to retire right away, you aren't even limited to new developments. If you are at least 55, have between $500,000 and $750,000 and meet a few other criteria, you may be able to get a retirement visa to Australia. Long-stay retirees who want to buy a home to live in through their retirement have an easier time getting approval from the FIRB.
For more information on investing in a retirement home in Australia, contact a developer.