23 Apr 2020

How to buy a house as a migrant

If you’re a migrant in our beautiful country, we have good news: You can buy a house in Australia. However, there are just a few processes and checkpoints you have to abide by to be eligible for homeownership. The rules around migration can be complicated, so it’s best to be prepared in advance and know whether it’s suitable for you to buy a house in Australia.  

What migrants need to organise before buying a house

  • An Australian driver’s license 
  • An Australian bank account
  • Kids must be enrolled in an Australian school
  • A visa

Most people already know that Australian citizens and permanent residents and free to purchase any property they desire. It may come as a shock to learn that migrants (temporary residents) are also allowed to own their share of terra firma, so long as they comply with the regulations set out by the Foreign Investment Review Board (FIRB). A temporary resident is someone who’s visa allows them to live in Australia for a period greater than 12-months. Another circumstance is a visa applicant has lodged an application for permanent residency and is holding a bridging visa in the interim while the FIRB makes their decision. 

According to Migrant Solutions:

  • Temporary residents can only buy one established (second-hand) dwelling. However, there are no restrictions on the number of new dwellings, dwellings built on vacant land or
  • The dwelling must be used as your principal place of residence.
  • An established dwelling cannot be rented out. However, new dwellings can be rented out.
  • An established dwelling bought by a temporary resident must be sold when you leave Australia. You can, however, retain and rent out any new dwellings you have purchased whilst a temporary resident in Australia.

Finance options for migrants

Policies around lending options for migrants are subject to frequent change. Often, migrants are required to have larger deposits because it’s harder for them to secure mortgage insurance. 


I general rule of thumb is to have 5% of the home’s value saved just to cover fees and additional costs of purchasing a home. So, if you need to borrow 50% of your home loan, you should have 55% saved for your deposit. 


Be sure to look for a conveyancer who is based in the state you’re looking to buy in. They will be able to do their due diligence and leverage important information to help the application process go smoothly. 

Temporary residents don’t qualify for the First Home Owner’s grant, though permanent residents may qualify on application. 


If you win an auction, you are now the owner of that house and you’ll be expected to pay the deposit. If you can’t fulfil the purchase, you could lose your deposit. If you’re planning on attending a house auction with the intention to buy, it’s important to arrange a building and pest inspection prior to the date of the auction. This will tell you whether you’re potential new home is safe. Arrange to get a list of precautions from your lender or conveyancer. 

Mortgage House

Don’t forget to ask your lender to provide a property report so you can get insight around whether your property value is set to grow. Contact us to get a free property report from Mortgage House and start looking at the nest areas for you, today.


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