NewsAustralia hikes fees for foreign home buyers amid housing crisis

Australia hikes fees for foreign home buyers amid housing crisis

The Australian real estate market is one of the most expensive in the world.
The Australian real estate market is one of the most expensive in the world.
Images source: © Getty Images | Brent Lewin
ed. KRWL

5:46 PM EST, December 10, 2023

The Australian government is exploring possible solutions to the nationwide housing crisis. It is expected that the answer lies in increasing fees imposed on foreign buyers. The price of real estate in Australia is among the highest globally, prompting this consideration for change.

Australia intends to triple the fees foreign buyers are required to pay when purchasing existing homes within its borders. This information was shared by the Australian Treasurer, Jim Chalmers. This is among wider measures intended to enhance the availability of affordable housing for the country's citizens – as reported by Reuters.

Australia protects its "national interest"

Chalmers reasons that heightened fees on the purchase of existing homes, intensified penalties for vacant property owners, and increased regulatory enforcement are all aimed at ensuring that foreign investments in residential properties benefit the national interest.

"We desire foreign investments that align with our goals and serve our country's wellbeing," stated Chalmers, as quoted by Reuters.

According to Reuters, the Australian government also intends to reduce fees for foreigners to file investment applications in "build-to-rent" projects. This strategy is believed to encourage the construction of more homes and consequently increase the housing supply, as explained by Chalmers.

Australia grapples with a housing crisis

As Reuters points out, in June of this year, the government pledged to designate 2 billion Australian dollars (1.3 billion U.S. dollars) towards constructing thousands of new, affordable houses nationwide. The intention behind this initiative is to uplift the availability of public housing for Australian citizens currently waiting for such accommodations.

Additionally, the changes announced on Sunday will generate further revenues of approximately 500 million Australian dollars (340 million U.S. dollars).

"The government intends to direct these funds towards priority sectors such as housing construction," said Chalmers at a press conference in Brisbane, as cited by the news agency.

Pricing in the Australian housing market, being one of the world's most expensive, will likely keep rising. This increase is predicted due to the growing demand for housing, which currently outweighs its supply in this nation of 26 million people.

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