Citizens and permanent residents of New Zealand can apply for a home loan to buy property in Australia. New Zealand investors can buy both old and new properties, as well as vacant land.
The Subclass 461 visa grants New Zealand citizens the right to live and work in Australia for no more than five years. To get the visa, one of your family members must have permanent resident status in Australia. They can be your partner, a spouse or one of your parents. This will also work if they’ve travelled with you to Australia at least once in the past.
To get approval, most lenders will need to see the documents that prove you have been granted a Subclass 461 visa.
What if I have property in New Zealand?
If you own a property in New Zealand and are looking to buy one in Australia, you can take out equity in your existing home. You can then use the money you receive as a deposit for the property in Australia.
How much you can borrow will vary. For instance, if you own an investment property in New Zealand, you may be able to borrow up to 60% of its total value. If you own a home, you could be eligible for up to 80% of its value, but only if you’re living in New Zealand.
Some lenders will also let you borrow more at a higher interest rate. Keep in mind that you will have two active home loans at once in this case: one in New Zealand and another in Australia. You could use the former to refinance your mortgage, while the latter will go towards the property you’re buying.
For foreign investors, Foreign Investment Review Board (FIRB) approval is mandatory, however the rule doesn’t apply to New Zealand citizens who’ve been to Australia at least once. If you’re a citizen of New Zealand, you’ll receive a Subclass 444 visa upon your arrival to Australia. The visa grants you permanent resident status here, so you can buy properties much like Australian citizens.
The rules are different if you’re not a citizen of either Australia or New Zealand. If you’re a permanent resident of New Zealand but not a citizen, you will need to have FIRB approval.
Home loan eligibility
If you’re eligible to buy or invest in a property in Australia, you can also apply for a home loan. How much you can borrow will depend on your current status.
- Up to 95% of the total value. All citizens of New Zealand who live in Australia can get a home loan that covers up to 95% of the cost of the property. Non-citizens who are in the country on a Subclass 461 visa can also take out as much. To be eligible, you will have to meet the conditions explained in the section below.
- Up to 90% of the total value. This is available to people who live in New Zealand as citizens or permanent residents.
- From 60% to 80% of the total value. If you’re living in another country, lenders will treat you as a foreign citizen. This means you can take out a loan that covers between 60% and 80% of the property value. Whether you’ll be able to take out a loan will depend on the property, your choice of lender and your financial status.
As of last year, foreigners buying property in some Australian states must pay extra stamp duty. This doesn’t apply to New Zealand citizens who are in Australia on a Subclass 444 visa.
To avoid extra stamp duty, New South Wales will ask you to prove that you’ve been in Australia for no less than 200 days. If you’ve spent less than 200 days in the country, you will have to pay the stamp duty surcharge. Some states won’t charge you the extra stamp duty if you’re a New Zealand citizen. These states include Tasmania, Northern Territory, South Australia, and Western Australia.
Talk to an expert to learn more about different requirements for stamp duty or see how much you’ll pay using our stamp duty calculator.
Applying for the first home owners grant
The First Home Owners Grant (FHOG) is available to all permanent residents, as well as Australian citizens. If you’re a New Zealand citizen living in Australia on a Subclass 444 visa and meet the other requirements, you should be eligible for this grant.
In New South Wales, extra rules will apply. As is the case with stamp duty, you must have been in Australia for at least 200 days to receive the First Home Owners Grant. Moreover, you can buy property in New South Wales, but you can’t act as an investor.
You could also maximise your chances of being eligible for FHOG by making sure you meet one or more of the following criteria:
- You’re buying your first home
- You’ve signed the contract after July 1, 2017
- The total value of the property is less than $800,000
- You are in Australia on the day of contract exchange
To learn more about your options, it’s best to talk to an expert.
Interest rates and Non-Resident Withholding Tax (NRWT)
As a non-Australian citizen, some lenders will let you take out a home loan but at a higher interest rate. This most often applies to people who are living in New Zealand or some other country. Most lenders will offer you the same conditions as they do to Australian citizens, though. This means you will be able to get a home loan and pay the same interest rates as any Australian citizen.
If you’re buying a home in Australia while living in New Zealand, you may have to pay an extra tax. This is called the Non-Resident Withholding Tax (NRWT). If you’re subject to the tax, the amount of money you pay for your property will be higher than usual.
Some lenders will make allowances to New Zealand citizens to help them to buy a home more easily. In cases like these, it’s best to talk to an expert. This is a very complex matter and they’ll be able to help you to find a lender that will offer you the most favourable conditions.
What documents will I need?
To apply for a home loan in Australia, you’ll need to provide any document your lender would want to see. This includes payslips, identification and bank statements.
In some cases, lenders will ask you to provide even more documents. They need as much information as they can get to approve your home loan.
What to do next
If you have any further questions, our home loan brokers can help you with that. Before you apply for a home loan, we recommend you:
- Find out how much you can borrow using our calculator
- Look up the current interest rates on our website
- Start a live chat with one of our home loan brokers.
It’s important to note that the information we give here is general in nature – no matter how helpful or relatable you find our articles. Even if it seems like we’re writing about you, it’s not personal or financial advice. That’s why you should always ask a professional before making any life-changing decisions.