Can expats get a mortgage in Australia?

Expatriates can indeed obtain a mortgage in Australia, but they must navigate specific legal and financial requirements. These include holding a suitable visa, possibly obtaining approval from the Foreign Investment Review Board (FIRB), and providing comprehensive financial documentation to potential lenders. By comparing mortgage options from various lenders and consulting with financial advisors or mortgage brokers who specialise in expatriate services, expats can successfully purchase property in Australia.

Australia's vibrant economy and high quality of life make it an attractive destination for expatriates around the world. While the prospect of buying a home in Australia is exciting, the process can be complex, especially for those unfamiliar with the local real estate market. This article explores the possibility of expats obtaining a mortgage in Australia, outlining the necessary requirements, available mortgage options, and the application process.

Basic Requirements for Expats to Qualify for a Mortgage

To qualify for a mortgage in Australia, expatriates must meet specific legal and financial criteria. Legally, expats must have a valid visa; typically, permanent residency or certain types of long-term temporary visas are required. From a financial perspective, lenders will assess an expat’s income stability, employment status, and overall financial history. This assessment is crucial as it helps determine the expat's ability to repay the loan.

Types of Visas and Their Impact on Mortgage Approval

The type of visa an expat holds significantly impacts their mortgage approval prospects. Permanent residents usually find it easier to obtain a mortgage under terms similar to those offered to Australian citizens. In contrast, temporary residents may face stricter lending criteria and might be required to pay a larger deposit. Specific visas such as the Skilled Independent Visa (subclass 189) or the Temporary Skill Shortage Visa (subclass 482) have particular stipulations that lenders take into account.

The Role of Foreign Investment Review Board (FIRB)

The Foreign Investment Review Board (FIRB) plays a crucial role in the process of expatriates buying property in Australia. Generally, non-residents need to gain FIRB approval before purchasing real estate in Australia. This process ensures that the investment is in line with national interests. Obtaining FIRB approval is a critical step and can influence the type of property expats are allowed to purchase.

Lenders and Mortgage Options Available to Expats

Several Australian banks and financial institutions are open to lending to expatriates. These institutions offer various mortgage products that cater to expats, although the terms and interest rates can vary. Expats should compare offers from major banks such as Commonwealth Bank, ANZ, Westpac, and NAB, as well as smaller lenders that may provide more tailored products for international residents. Using an experienced mortgage broker is free, and a great way to help you find a suitable home loan for your situation.

Additional Costs and Considerations

When purchasing property in Australia, expats should be aware of additional costs, which include stamp duty, legal fees, and loan application fees. These can significantly affect the overall cost of buying a home. Additionally, having an Australian credit history can facilitate the mortgage process; expats without local credit history must be prepared to provide extensive financial documentation from their home country or previous countries of residence.

Steps to Apply for a Mortgage as an Expat

Applying for a mortgage as an expatriate involves several steps:

  • Research: Begin by researching potential lenders and the types of mortgage products available to expats. This is where a great mortgage broker can help to simplify the process.
  • Pre-approval: Seek pre-approval to understand how much you can borrow based on your financial situation.
  • Documentation: Prepare necessary documents, which may include proof of income, employment verification, and visa status.
  • Application: Submit a mortgage application along with the required documentation and FIRB approval if necessary.
  • Approval and Purchase: Once approved, you can proceed with purchasing your property in Australia.


While obtaining a mortgage in Australia as an expat involves navigating several complexities, it is certainly achievable with the right preparation and support. Expatriates should undertake thorough research, compare different mortgage offers, and possibly engage professional financial advisors or mortgage brokers who specialise in assisting expats. By understanding the specific requirements and available options, expats can successfully purchase their dream home in Australia.

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