REALWorld Law

Sale and purchase

Ownership restrictions

Are there any legal restrictions on foreign investors acquiring real estate?



Commonwealth legislation (the Foreign Acquisitions and Takeovers Act 1975 (FATA) and relevant regulations) operates to impose restrictions on foreign investors in relation to the acquisition of Australian land.

The Commonwealth’s stated approach to foreign investment policy is to encourage foreign investment consistent with Australia’s national interest. A key objective of the policy is to balance concerns about foreign ownership of Australian assets against the strong economic benefits to Australia that arise from foreign investment. The FATA regime is administered by the Federal Treasurer and the Foreign Investment Review Board (FIRB).

Proposals concerning acquisitions of an interest in Australian land by a foreign person require notification to, and approval by, FIRB if the value of the interest being acquired exceeds prescribed thresholds. In the case of vacant land and residential land (as well as acquisitions by foreign government), the threshold is zero and accordingly all acquisitions of such land or by such entity require approval by FIRB.