10 Dec 2023

Australia to triple fees on foreign purchasers of existing homes

1:39 pm on 10 December 2023
Melbourne, Australia - October 11, 2015: Row of new, modern suburban houses on the hill in Melbourne with trees during daytime.

Photo: 123RF

By Sam McKeith for Reuters.

Australia will triple fees on purchases of existing homes by foreign buyers, Treasurer Jim Chalmers said on Sunday, as part of measures aimed at increasing the supply of affordable housing.

"Higher fees for the purchase of established homes, increased penalties for those that leave properties vacant, and strengthened compliance activity will help ensure foreign investment in residential property is in our national interest," Chalmers said in a statement with Housing Minister Julie Collins.

The centre-left Labour government would also cut application fees for foreign investment in "build to rent" projects to encourage construction of more homes, Chalmers said.

The fee hike comes after Chalmers last year doubled the fees for foreign investors buying assets in the country, which the government said would generate A$455 million in extra revenue over four years.

"These adjustments are all about making sure foreign investment aligns with the Government's agenda to lift the nation's supply of affordable housing," Chalmers said, adding the government would introduce laws in 2024 to implement the higher fees.

Prices in Australia's housing market, already among the most expensive in the world, are forecast to maintain steady growth as rising demand outstrips supply in the nation of 26 million people.

The government in June pledged A$2 billion to deliver thousands of new affordable homes nation-wide, with the aim of boosting public housing supply for Australians on waiting lists.

*This story was first published on Reuters.

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