Residential land

Last updated

Generally foreign investors will need to notify the Australian Taxation Office before acquiring residential land, regardless of value.

The Australian Taxation Office is responsible for compliance and enforcement activities for residential real estate and the vacancy fee.

The Australian Government’s policy is to channel foreign investment into new dwellings. The overarching principle is that a proposed investment should increase Australia’s housing stock. Investment into new dwellings creates extra jobs in the construction industry, helps support economic growth, and increases government revenues.

If you invest in vacant land for residential development, it will generally be conditional upon the construction being completed within 4 years and the land not being sold until the construction is complete.

If you purchase a new (or near‑new) dwelling, it is not usually subject to any conditions concerning its usage.

Property developers looking to sell their newly developed dwellings to foreign investors can notify us on behalf of their foreign customers.

If this has been done, the foreign investor will, generally, not need to submit an investment proposal for the acquisition.

You will not be able to purchase established dwellings unless you are:

  • a temporary resident and are going to use the dwelling as your place of residence while in Australia
  • planning to redevelop the dwelling and the redevelopment will genuinely increase Australia’s housing stock.

Foreign controlled companies can apply, in limited circumstances, to purchase an established dwelling to house their Australian based staff.

When you buy or sell residential land you must notify the Register of Foreign Ownership of Australian Assets.

You will also need to pay an annual vacancy fee if your property is not residentially occupied or genuinely available for rent for more than 183 days (approximately 6 months) during a year.

If you buy residential land to use for a non‑residential purpose, such as, redevelopment for commercial use, it will generally be subject to development conditions, as assessed on a case‑by‑case basis.

 Residential real estate applications

Lodge a residential property application with before you purchase residential real estate (housing) or land in Australia

Guidance Note 6: Residential land


A: When does a proposed investment in residential land require a submission to the Treasurer?
B: Acquisitions of vacant residential land
C: Acquisitions of new (and near-new) dwellings
D: Property developers, and acquisitions of new (and near-new) dwellings
E: Established dwelling as residence for temporary residents
F: Established dwelling for redevelopment
G: Established dwellings for Australian based employees
H: Vacancy fee
I: Integrated Tourism Resorts – grandfathered treatment of residential land
Further information


Guidance Note 6: Residential Land [PDF  1.20 MB]

Guidance Note 6: Residential Land [DOCX  166 kB]