Owning Property in Australia as a Foreign Resident

Owning Property in Australia as a Foreign Resident

“Know what you own, and know why you own it” ― Peter Lynch

3 min read

Australian Property in Australia

Owning Property in Australia as a Foreign Resident

“Know what you own, and know why you own it” ― Peter Lynch

3 min read

Owning property in Australia as a foreign resident can be a complex but rewarding venture. It requires careful planning and consideration of various factors. Whether you are an expatriate who intends to eventually return to Australia or a non-resident investor, there are certain tax implications, and financial aspects involved of which it is important to be aware.

A Great Investment Opportunity?

Property ownership in Australia can be a lucrative long-term investment. The Australian real estate market has demonstrated consistent growth over the years, and for many expats, renting out their Australian property can serve as an invaluable source of income. With property also comes the ability to have a home base for any return or lengthy stay in Australia, which ensures a smoother transition upon any future relocation.

One of the most notable incentives for property investments in Australia is the potential for a reduction in tax on any capital gain made upon the sale of the property. However, the rules on this can be complex and it is important to note that you generally only benefit from such a tax concession should you resume tax residency or become tax resident in Australia.

Nevertheless, due to these incentives (and others), investing in the Australian property market to benefit from potential tax savings and long-term growth is an attractive option for many.

When considering either Australian property as an investment decision or selling your existing property, it is recommended to seek professional advice to ensure the process is as seamless as possible.

Navigating Challenges

As with all forms of investing, property does not come without its own unique risks and challenges. Though not exclusive to the Australian property market, the lack of liquidity present compared to other styles of investing needs to be carefully considered.

In addition, perhaps more specific to the Australian property owners amongst you, the challenge of simply operating on a vastly different time zone when dealing with maintenance and management of property poses potentially significant issues in the worst of cases. Day-to-day, this will likely be a small issue, but it is definitely worth keeping in mind.

To that end, being in another Country does not just invite time zone complications. Whilst Australia uses the Australian Dollar (AUD), Switzerland uses the Swiss Franc (CHF), the United Kingdom uses the Pound Sterling (GBP), the United States uses the US Dollar (USD) and so on. What this really means is that there is an ever-present currency risk that has the potential to seriously impact your returns when converting income earned in AUD to that of CHF or other relevant currency. Exchanges rates constantly fluctuate and so be sure to check the latest exchange rate(s) available to you with the institution you wish to exchange with.

Returning to Australia?

If you plan to return to Australia now or in the future, consider whether holding onto your property until you become an Australian tax resident would be suitable. In doing so, you could minimise unnecessary tax charges.

It is essential to ensure that your property holdings align with your future requirements upon your return. Whether leveraging the property for rental income, capitalising on long-term capital gains, or even your family’s evolving needs, making a property selection that aligns with your long-term goals is crucial for a smooth relocation. Effective financial planning now (before you arrive in Australia) can yield substantial benefits down the road. You’ll thank yourself for starting planning early!

Remaining Overseas?

For those with no plans to return to Australia, the approach to property ownership and tax management may differ and require a more considered approach. Should you hold onto your existing property? Should you sell? How long will you stay overseas? Could your funds be more efficiently invested elsewhere? All these are questions to consider (as well as many more!) to ensure that your property portfolio aligns with your broader investment goals.

For long-term financial success, it is crucial to think about whether your properties will be beneficial over the long-term, or not. In addition, the laws and regulations in place today are always open to change in the future and any changes may negatively (or, equally, positively) impact your decisions. Explore tax strategies available to you and how you can make the most of your Australian property whilst overseas.

Blueprint for Success

Owning property in Australia whilst overseas presents an exciting opportunity for wealth accumulation and the reassurance of a future home base. Yet, this journey is not without challenges, including management complexities, foreign exchange risks, and tax implications, notably for non-resident investors. Whilst it certainly offers its own advantages, real estate should be viewed as a component of a comprehensive strategy to diversify your investments and safeguard your financial wellbeing.

To walk this path with confidence, Patterson Mills are here to light the way. You don’t have to try and figure it all out on your own, get in touch with Patterson Mills today and book your initial, no-cost and no-obligation meeting and we will guide you every step of the way. Send us an e-mail to or call us direct at +41 21 801 36 84 and we shall be pleased to assist you.

Please note that all information within this article has been prepared for informational purposes only. This article does not constitute financial, legal or tax advice. Always ensure you speak to a regulated Financial Adviser before making any financial decisions.