Monday, December 22, 2008

Australian Property - Guide to Buying Property in Australia

The Australian Property Market

When it comes to nations in the world that are experiencing a thriving real estate market, Australia is towards the top of the list. Indeed, over the course of the past decade, the real estate market in many locations around Australia has been booming.

Major Australian cities naturally are experiencing the biggest growth in their real estate markets. Cities like Sydney, Perth, and Melbourne are leading the way in the real estate arena. In addition, a great number of more rural areas in the country are experiencing a surprising growth in their own real estate markets. Many people have come to find the more rural areas of the Down Under to have particular appeal.

Investment Property in Australia

An increasing number of people -- both Australian nationals and people living abroad -- have become more involved in purchasing and owning investment real estate in Australia since the turn of the century. Generally speaking, the up tick in the acquisition of investment real estate throughout Australia is taking shape in two general areas.

First of all, a growing number of people are seeking, finding and purchasing real property in th major Australian cities that is then leased to different types of business enterprises. A surprising number of foreign nationals are involved in this type of investment scheme. For example, many Europeans have taken to investing part of their capital in commercial and business properties in the major Australian cities.

Generally speaking, investors have realized a fairly substantial return in this type of investment in recent years. Indeed, from a long term investment standpoint, real estate values have continued to rise significantly in all major Australian cities for the past decade.

Second, a notable number of people who are seeking an investment in income producing real estate have taken to putting their money into properties that are involved in the tourism trade in Australia in one fashion or another. Tourism remains a primary industry in the Down Under in the 21st century. An ever growing number of visitors are trooping to Australia with each passing year.

Most real estate analysts in Australia maintain that no proverbial bubble is yet in sight when it comes to the investment market Down Under. Therefore, most of these experts agree that a present day investment in real estate in Australia is a solid decision, not only for today but well into the future.

Residential Real Estate in Australia - Single Family Properties

As a nation, Australia is a country in which home ownership is a goal (and the reality) for a vast majority of people throughout the country. In point of fact, at the present time, over 70% of the population of Australia owns residential property. A clear minority are tenants or involved in some other living arrangement that does not include the ownership of a home.

In today's Australia, the development and construction of single family residences is being undertaken at a fast clip. The major Australian cities, for the most part, have not yet been overbuilt. Thus, the demand for these properties continues to outstrip supply, at least to some extent. As a result, and generally speaking across the country, the Australian residential real estate market remains a seller's market. Most industry experts and analysts expect this status to remain over the course of the coming ten years.

The percentage of residential properties owned by foreign nationals within Australia remains very small. Presently, most foreign nationals that are electing to live a part of the year in the country still tend to be leasing property for that purpose. However, and with that said, each year more and more foreign nationals are in fact making the purchase of residential properties in Australia for their personal usage.

Residential Real Estate in Australia - Apartments

When it comes to tourism in Australia, a significant number of visitors to that country plan extended holidays or travels within that nation. Many travelers who have Australia as a destination are determined to stay in the country for a period of months rather than weeks or days. As a result, the market for apartments and similar types of housing situations remains strong.

Recognizing the strength of this market, many people have taken to buying up and investing in apartments and other multi-family dwellings for investment purposes. Some foreign nationals are getting into this mix themselves.

When it comes to buying and investing in this type of real estate, the number of foreign nationals involved in the ownership of these properties understandably is largest in the major Australian urban areas. However, with more and more visitors to Australia -- as well as Australian citizens themselves -- becoming more interested in life in rural areas, more apartment units are being developed in smaller communities all of the time. These projects are ripe opportunities for many foreign investors interested in gaining a foothold in the Australian real estate market.

Holiday Property in Australia

Since the 1950s, when it come to the ownership of real estate in Australia by foreign nationals, the most common type of property that a non-Australian can be found purchasing is vacation real estate. Again, and as has been mentioned, tourism remains a primary industry in Australia. Thousands of people who are citizens of foreign countries have taken to purchasing vacation property in Australia. By making these investments, these foreign nationals are able to spend time on holiday or vacation within Australia and have a home base from which to operate while in country.

Many such investors are taking the additional step of renting or leasing out these properties during those periods of the year when they are not using the properties. In many of such cases, the vacation property owner has found that he or she is able to turn a tidy profit from this type of arrangement

Specific steps to buying real estate property in Australia

The ability of a foreign national to make the purchase of real estate in Australia requires governmental permission. Before a foreign national can commence seriously the pursuit of real estate to purchase in Australia, he or she must seek and obtain permission to purchase real estate from the Foreign Investment Review Board.

Whether a person is seeking to purchase residential property or investment real estate, it is important to initiate the approval process with the Foreign Investment Review Board early on. Indeed, most people apply for approval from the Board at least ninety days prior to launching a more concentrated search for real estate to purchase in Australia.

When it comes to a foreign national investing in residential or commercial real estate in Australia, getting approval from the Foreign Investment Review Board really is the most cumbersome portion of the entire process. Once this approval has been tendered by the governing Board, the process of satisfying the legal requirements to purchase and own real estate in Australia surprisingly is rather simplistic.

Overall, most real property in Australia is sold either through what is known as a conventional channel or through auctions. In considering the conventional course of purchasing real estate in Australia, when a foreign national identifies a property that he or she is interested in purchasing, he or she need only convey an offer to the seller.

In Australia, this initial offer can be verbal or in writing. Once received by the seller, the seller will either accept or reject the offer that has been tendered. In many instances, if the offer is not at the price the seller has set for the property, the seller may counteroffer. In any event, if an offer (or counteroffer) ultimately is accepted, a Contract for Sale will then be drafted.

After the acceptance of the initial offer (or counteroffer), the buyer is obliged to make what is known as a holding deposit. Generally speaking, the holding deposit is 10% of the total price agreed upon for the sale of the real estate in question. During the period of time in which the Contract for Sale is being prepared and drafted, a buyer or seller maintain the ability to back out of the transaction. If this occurs, more often than not, the buyer is entitled to a refund of the entire holding deposit.

Once the terms and conditions of the Contract for Sale fully are hammered out, the parties to the sale will sign the agreement. The Contract for Sale sets forth all of the conditions, restrictions and requirements that must be satisfied in advance of the ultimate and final sale and conveyance of the property. The primary conditions generally are the buyer obtaining financing and the seller making certain that there are no encumbrances on the real estate that would preclude its transfer to a new owner.

In most locales in Australia, once the Contract for Sale the deposit that is made by the buyer becomes irrevocable -- in short, the buyer can't get his or her deposit money back. However, in some Australian states there is a ten day "cooling off period" following the execution of the contract for sale. Within this time period, if the seller decides to back out of the contract, he or she can do so without losing the security deposit. There may be some financial penalty to backing out of the deal, but the majority of the initial deposit will be refunded.

At this juncture, the parties merely wait for the final wrap up of the obligations under the contract for sale that each party assumes pursuant to that agreement. The seller obtains appropriate financing in most instances and the buyer makes certain that the property is in proper condition for sale both physically and legally.

In summary, for many foreign nationals seeking to buy real estate in Australia, the most difficult hurdle to surmount is that of gaining authorization from the Investment Review Board. However, once that is in hand, there are many opportunities to purchase real estate of all varieties in the country. Property Abroad always recommends using a Solicitor or Lawyer.

By Les Calvert

Property Abroad's directory Les Calvert writes interesting and useful articles on all subjects dealing with overseas investment property and buying property in Australia. Visit their website to view their property for sale in Australia and other useful information on buying property abroad.

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