Melbourne Commercial Real Estate – Foreign investment

If you want to buy Melbourne commercial real estate as a foreigner for the purpose of investing in an Australian business, you will need to go through the Foreign Investment Review Board.

They require notification and approval for the purchase of vacant land for commercial development, as well as for the acquisition of developed commercial property.

This process applies to the acquisition of property by a company with substantial foreign interest. This is defined as a single foreigner having at least 15 per cent ownership, or several foreigners having at least 40 per cent of the ownership of a corporation, business or trust.

The Australian Government has the purpose of reserving itself the right to block proposals that are seen to be contrary to the national interest and community concerns.

However, at this point in time, the foreign business investment is encouraged. For that reason, smaller proposals are exempt from notification and larger proposals are generally approved unless they violate Australian interests.

The government is interested to attract investors and foreigners who are willing to operate as good corporate citizens in Australia.

Changes to Foreing Investment Policy - Residential Real Estate

In April 2010, the Assistant Treasurer announced changes to the screening of foreign investment in residential real estate. From 24 April, temporary residents need to notify the Government and receive approval before buying residential real estate in Australia.

Temporary residents may apply to buy vacant land on which to build (subject to development conditions), new dwellings and/or an established (second hand) dwelling to be used as their residence in Australia. Where the Government provides approval to buy an established dwelling, it will be subject to a condition that the temporary resident sells the property when it ceases to be their residence.

Applications to buy established dwellings for investment purposes will not be approved.

For an application form through the Foreign Investment Review Board, click here.

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