Is it easy for expats to secure a mortgage in Australia?
There’s less stigma attached to renting these days, as people prefer the flexibility that this affords to those who are constantly on the move. However, if you want to settle down and lay some roots, surely it’s better to be paying towards a mortgage each month, rather than handing your hard-earned cash over to a landlord?
Some expats living in Australia believe that home ownership is totally out of the question, especially while they are on a temporary visa. This isn’t the case, though.
Although the process of obtaining a mortgage can be a little more complex than it is for Australian citizens, it is possible to buy your own home while in possession of a 457 visa.
What are the main differences for expats?
This extensive guide produced by True Blue – a Perth and Melbourne-based migration agency – is a good place to garner more information on this subject.
Essentially, the biggest difference that expat mortgage applicants face when compared with fully-fledged Aussie citizens is that they must first be approved by the Foreign Investment Review Board.
This gives the Australian Government peace of mind that you’re not going to default on your mortgage before upping sticks and moving elsewhere.
Once you’ve been approved, you’ll be free to scour the market for the best mortgage deals. This is another area in which expats and Aussies are treated a little differently.
Some lenders will not entertain the idea of sanctioning a home loan for a non-Australian national, which means expats won’t have quite as much choice.
That said, there is an increasing number of mortgage providers that offer special deals tailored specifically for expats on temporary visas and these often come with very attractive interest rates.
Where the process is the same
Luckily, other than the aforementioned aspects of the application process, securing a mortgage in Australia is broadly similar to obtaining a home loan in Ireland.
You’ll need a chunky deposit to have any chance of finding a lender that is willing to work with you.
While Government house-buying schemes are meant for Australian citizens only, you can take advantage of these if you’re moving in with your Aussie partner. These initiatives can really help you to secure a mortgage with a minimal deposit.
Your legal obligations will be similar to those back in the mother land too. You’ll need to employ a solicitor to take care of the handover process, and it’s also advisable to conduct a thorough survey of your desired property to ensure there are no major problems that might make you think twice about your purchase.
Buying a property in Australia
Once you’ve got your mortgage agreement in place, you’ll be free to find a property of your dreams.
Much has been written about the high price of houses Down Under, and while this is true in certain parts of the country – Sydney and Melbourne are notoriously expensive places to live – there are areas that are only marginally more expensive than Ireland. You just need to know where to look.
The cost of living in Australia has also been blown out of proportion in the media in recent years.
The truth is that things have levelled out in the last 18 to 24 months, and there’s actually not much difference between the cost of everyday essentials in Australia and Ireland.
Numerous variables will determine where you buy a property, of course. First and foremost, you’ll need to find somewhere that is within your price range (this will be easier to determine once you have your mortgage agreement in place) and also within close proximity to your place of work.
Some expats will also need to consider the quality of local schools and the reliability of transport links in the area.
While too much deliberation could result in you missing out on a good property to a rival buyer, it’s important that you weigh up the pros and cons of each house you find before you commit to a purchase.