7 February 2024

New foreign investment laws to boost housing supply


Joint media release with
The Hon Julie Collins MP
Minister for Housing
Minister for Homelessness
Minister for Small Business

The Albanese Government has today introduced legislation to adjust the foreign investment framework to help boost Australia’s housing stock and provide more homes for Australians.

Higher fees for the purchase of established homes and increased penalties for those that leave properties vacant will help ensure foreign investment in residential property is in our national interest.

At the same time, the Government will cut application fees for foreign investment in Build to Rent projects to support the delivery of more homes across Australia.

The Foreign Acquisitions and Takeovers Fees Imposition Amendment Bill 2024 is about making sure foreign investment aligns with the Government’s agenda to lift the nation’s supply of affordable housing.

These changes which were announced in the Mid‑Year Economic and Fiscal Outlook include:

  • A tripling of foreign investment fees for the purchase of established homes;
  • A doubling of vacancy fees for all foreign‑owned dwellings purchased since 9 May 2017 (which together mean a six‑fold increase in vacancy fees for future purchases of established dwellings).

These changes to foreign investment rules are part of the Albanese Government’s broad and ambitious agenda to improve housing affordability and supply which include the biggest increase to Commonwealth Rent Assistance in 30 years, the $2 billion Social Housing Accelerator, $3 billion New Homes Bonus and the $10 billion Housing Australia Future Fund.

Foreign nationals are generally barred from buying existing property, but can do so in very limited circumstances such as when they come to live here for work or study. When they leave the country, they are required to sell the property if they have not become a permanent resident.

These changes further encourage foreign nationals to buy new property instead and help to ensure that those who do get approval follow the rules.

The higher fees for established dwellings will encourage foreign buyers to invest in new housing developments. This will help create additional housing stock, jobs in the construction industry and support economic growth.

The increased vacancy fees will encourage foreign investors to make their unused properties available to renters.

We will always put Australian interests first and this means ensuring Australians benefit from foreign investment in Australia.