What You Need to Know About Real Estate in Australia

australia real estate

Australia boasts a vibrant real estate market that has attracted investors from around the globe. Recently however, prices have fallen and may mark an impending price correction.

CoreLogic reports that house prices remain higher than their peak levels despite the slowing property market; however, this market remains highly dispersed and fragmented.

Property market

Australian property markets are dynamic entities that vary greatly across state capitals and regional areas, due to each being at different stages of its property cycle. Overall, however, markets appear to be in a state of decline with no sign of upturn soon – however historical experience shows this cycle can vary considerably over time so there’s no reason for fear that it’ll last indefinitely.

The current housing market downturn can be attributed to multiple factors. Chief among them are rising mortgage repayments and decreased consumer trust, leading fewer people to purchase properties and thus lower sales activity. In addition, the Reserve Bank of Australia’s surprise cash rate rise in May has added further uncertainty to the market.

Even during a property downturn, there are still many compelling arguments for investing in real estate. Many investors are exploring opportunities outside of capital city markets by investing in regional and coastal real estate markets; as more Australians pursue flexible work arrangements or strive to retire early they will likely require closer proximity to amenities and services such as schools, shopping centres and hospitals; moreover, baby boomer population increases will drive demand for houses located closer to these amenities and services.

Another factor affecting the market is construction delays. This has resulted in an inadequate supply of residential properties available for sale, leading to sky-high prices. Should the supply increase in coming months, prices may well fall accordingly.

In April, national house prices rose by 0.8% and unit prices by 0.3%, largely driven by rising house prices in Sydney and Melbourne. Yet demand remains weak: more people with mortgages than buyers is growing steadily, leading to foreclosures and defaults as people struggle with payments.

However, the long-term fundamentals of Australia’s property market remain positive and investors should avoid becoming distracted by short-term market fluctuations; instead focusing on their financial goals. Please remember that nothing contained here constitutes financial advice and should always consult a professional before making an investment decision.


When purchasing property in Australia, it’s crucial to understand all your mortgage options. Each lender has different policies and criteria; using an experienced mortgage broker will save time and money by taking care of this legwork for you.

A typical Australian mortgage consists of both principal and interest payments. The principal refers to the amount borrowed to purchase property while interest covers the costs associated with borrowing money. Payments may be deducted automatically from your bank account on a regular schedule – this option may even be suitable for investment loans but could still work for owner-occupier loans as well.

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At the height of COVID-19 lockdown, purchasing preferences were seemingly more geared toward houses due to investors being relatively less active and homebuyers wanting more space. Since then, however, homebuyer preferences seem to have shifted back towards units; although house values still hold an edge.

Foreign buyers can obtain mortgages in Australia, but must fulfill certain criteria in order to do so. They must secure approval by the Financial Industry Regulatory Body and pay additional stamp duty which varies based on property value; as well as provide proof of identity and residency. Depending on their state of residency there may also be additional fees and charges that quickly add up; so using a specialist broker may be wiser in these instances.

Mortgage loans in Australia are considered full recourse loans, meaning the lender can seek recourse on all the borrower’s assets in case of default. This differs from US where non-recourse loans are more prevalent. No matter your loan type or repayment strategy, having a budget and plan to meet obligations should always be top of mind; working with a broker to create a financial plan will ensure no payments fall through the cracks.


As an Australian real estate agent, having appropriate insurance is of utmost importance. Not only can it protect against financial loss in case of disaster but it can also assist in meeting state regulations. You can easily get quotes online or speak to a licensed insurance broker who will also help determine which type of cover best suits your business and may even offer packages combining multiple forms into one policy.

As the property market downturn has intensified, real estate agents have seen their profits diminish significantly and buyers remain uncertain whether to spend their hard-earned cash on properties in a volatile economic climate. This has contributed to slower sales especially in Sydney, Melbourne, and Hobart as well as a drop in property prices shown by CoreLogic Residential Property Index.

The residential property index provides an overall measure of property price fluctuations across Australia, covering established houses and apartments alike. Published quarterly, CoreLogic compiles this index, which can then be used by developers, investors, mortgage lenders and other stakeholders to track market trends and monitor price movements.

Though Australia’s real estate market is experiencing an unprecedented downturn, foreign investors remain keen on buying homes here. According to a report by the Real Estate Institute of Australia, overseas buyers contributed 37% of total residential property value in 2020-21 whereas domestic buyers only made up 21%.

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Real estate agents have access to various forms of insurance coverage for their business, including professional indemnity and public liability policies. These essential policies help safeguard you against negligence claims or breach of duty claims, while workers compensation insurance is mandatory if employing staff.

When selecting an insurance provider, it is crucial that you look for one with an excellent track record and superior customer service. In addition, consider how long they have been operating and the number of people they have helped. Furthermore, check whether or not there is a code of conduct and should any issues arise that you can contact the Australian Financial Complaints Authority (AFCA) for advice.


Australian real estate market is subject to various taxes. A real property tax typically levied on unimproved value of land and calculated using factors like distance from schools, hospitals, shopping centres, public transport routes and zoned for residential or commercial usage – among many others.

Local councils may impose other fees on real estate transactions, including land transfer duty and water rates. These charges typically are levied quarterly; their exact amounts vary by state but the maximum land transfer duty rate in Australia can be found here.

Before buying Australian real estate, buyers must notify and gain approval from the Foreign Investment Review Board (FIRB), otherwise fines or imprisonment could apply. Approval from FIRB may be needed for both vacant and developed land as well as certain agricultural and national security properties.

In general, the Financial Industry Regulatory Board does not allow non-residents to purchase established dwellings; however, developers can apply for an exemption certificate to sell off-the-plan property to non-residents in residential developments with 50 or more dwellings if it meets specific criteria such as being built within four years and contributing housing stock.

Foreign investors can invest in Australia through indirect ownership through REITs or unlisted property schemes and syndicates that are more tax efficient than direct ownership, as they avoid capital gains taxes that would otherwise apply on sale of direct investments.

The Foreign Investment Review Board’s (FIRB) rules also outline how foreign companies may purchase Australian land. Foreign companies are permitted to own property only for business or construction use – this excludes agricultural land, national security land and tourism/recreation land as well as leasehold titles that do not belong solely to them.

Foreign owners of Australian real estate must pay both capital gains and property taxes as well as an annual vacancy fee (often known as ghost tax), equivalent to two percent of its unimproved capital value. Furthermore, residents must keep records related to their property for five years after any action has taken place related to it.

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