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Home loans for Australian expats

Australian citizens living and working overseas can get mortgages to buy property in Australia. Here's how it works.

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Office with a view of Tower Bridge in London.Living and working overseas for a year or more is a rite of passage for many Australians, and even if your career or personal life has taken you overseas for a time, there’s a fair chance that you still call Australia home.

But what happens if you’re an Australian citizen living and working abroad, and you want to take out a home loan to buy property in Australia? Do lenders offer home loans to Aussie expats and will you be able to get a competitive rate?

The good news is that a wide variety of banks and non-bank lenders offer Australian expat home loans. However, there are certain terms and conditions attached to these mortgages that you should be aware of before you apply for a loan.

Which lenders offer mortgages for Aussie expats?

The Australian property market offers a stable and secure investment opportunity for Aussie expats, so it’s important to compare a wide range of expat home loans to find one that meets your needs. These lenders have dedicated loans for expatriates:

  • ANZ. One of Australia's "Big Four" banks, ANZ has a dedicated team offering mortgages to Australians living overseas, enabling them to buy and invest in the Australian property market without needing to travel back home.
  • HSBC. This international bank allow expatriates earning income in Hong Kong or US dollars to get mortgages on Australian properties.
  • Specialist lenders and mortgage brokers. Much smaller than international banks, there are many specialist brokers and mortgage providers who can help you get a mortgage.

Get in touch with a mortgage broker in Australia

Mortgage advice Australian expats

sml-image-center“An Australian citizen living and working overseas can certainly borrow for a purchase here,” says mortgage broker Derek Haas from Haas Associates Loans & Leasing. “The current publicity around ‘overseas investors’ really relates to foreign nationals looking to buy here, ie ‘non-resident’ citizens of another country.”

So while there’s a widespread belief that expats will need to obtain approval from the Foreign Investment Review Board before they can buy property in Australia, this is simply not true.

The interest rates and fees for expat home loans are generally the same as those any Australian living here could access, but some lenders do charge higher interest rates. Specific terms and conditions also apply to these types of loans, so it’s important to compare your options before submitting an application.

How much can I borrow with an Australian expat home loan?

The amount you can borrow with an expat home loan really depends on the lender you select. Factors such as fluctuating exchange rates, foreign tax rates, any foreign debts you have and the impact of negative gearing all influence how much a lender is willing to let you borrow, with loan to valuation ratios (LVRs) ranging from around 60% to 80% available.

“Talking to a spread of lenders shows that an Australian citizens living and working overseas could borrow up to a possible maximum of 80% of the valuation/purchase price (the lesser of the two), with some policy issues to be addressed of course,” Haas says.

Jordon Papadopoulos headshotBut while you can access a high LVR with some lenders, Jordan Papadopoulos from Pendo Finance explains that the LVR available for Aussie expats is generally lower than the amount an Australian citizen living and working in Australian could borrow.

“For example, if you have two clients looking to purchase the same three-bedroom home in Melbourne:

  • Expat: Maximum LVR could be 60% with Lender ABC.
  • Citizen: Maximum LVR could be 80% with Lender ABC.

“As a result, expats will be required to hold a much higher deposit and/or use equity from other properties owned within Australia,” Papadopoulos says.

How is foreign income treated?

One of the main issues to consider when you apply for an expat home loan is that you will be earning income in a foreign currency. A lender will need to assess your income and earnings capacity before approving your loan application, but each lender has its own approach to foreign income. Most Australian lenders will only accept a certain percentage of your foreign income, which allows a lender to protect itself against factors such as fluctuating exchange rates.

“PAYG applicants will need to be paid generally in one of the major currencies, for example,GBP, Euro or USD,” Haas says. “The lender here will take 80% of that income - some take 80% of net, some, 80% of gross - and use that for servicing the loan with generally no negative gearing benefits allowed for.”

Some of the commonly accepted currencies for foreign income when applying for an Australian expat home loan include:

  • British Pound Sterling
  • US Dollar
  • Euro
  • Singapore Dollar
  • New Zealand Dollar
  • Canadian Dollar
  • Hong Kong Dollar
  • Japanese Yen
  • Chinese Yuan Renminbi

There are several other worldwide currencies that may be accepted by your lender, but restrictions such as lower LVRs may apply. Some lenders will also only accept loan applications from expats residing in a country where there is an Australian consulate, so an experienced mortgage broker will be able to talk you through the ins and outs of expat lending criteria.

What other evidence and documentation is needed?

Just like with a regular home loan, you’ll need to provide proof of income to be approved for an expat home loan. “At a minimum we require six months of bank statements, your last two payslips and an employment letter, and an employment check will also be completed,” Papadopoulos says. “Most lenders will no longer accept self-employed income.”

Other supporting documentation required by most lenders includes copies of your passport and visa showing that you are allowed to live and work overseas.

What if I’m married to a foreign citizen?

So what happens if you’re married to, or in a de facto relationship with, a foreign citizen? If only the Australian applicant’s earnings are being used to service the loan debt, this won’t be an issue. But if both your and your partner’s income will be used to pay off the loan, this may cause problems with some lenders.

“If you are married you will automatically need to declare the marriage on the lending application. If you are married to a foreign citizen and the lender does not accept their income, this could potentially impact your approval,” Papadopoulos says.

Some lenders will refuse to accept any income from a foreign resident, while others will assess you both as Australian citizens or potentially class you both as foreign investors. This can have a significant impact on the interest rate you receive and the affordability of your loan, so it pays to enlist help from a mortgage broker with experience in the expat lending field. Your broker will then be able to match you up with a lender that offers a lending policy most suited to your situation.

It’s worth pointing out that even if you plan to buy Australian property with a spouse who is a foreign citizen, you will not need to receive Foreign Investment Review Board approval.

How to find the right Australian expat home loan

Applying for an Australian expat home loan is a perfect example of the benefits of a good broker, Haas explains. “With some lenders maxing out at 80% and others happy at 95%, choice of lender is important, and policy knowledge as well,” he says. “Slight variations in policy mean the broker needs to investigate the lender panel in detail to come up with the most suitable recommendation.

“My experience with these deals is that the end documentation process needs to be addressed at the start of the discussion with the broker. Once the loan is approved, how will the client sign the loan contract and mortgages? This can be done by way of a Registered and Enduring Power of Attorney, or documents can be couriered overseas but need to be witnessed at an Australian Consulate or Embassy.”

Some lenders will require you to have a power of attorney as part of the borrowing process, while others will not allow this. Maintaining all the necessary proof of income and visa documentation can help the application process run as smoothly as possible, and it’s essential to maintain good communication with your mortgage broker well in advance of your intended purchase.

Finding home loan financing for Aussie expats doesn’t have to be hard. With the right advice and guidance from an experienced mortgage broker, you can find a loan that meets all your borrowing needs.

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Name Product Interest Rate (p.a.) Comp Rate^ (p.a.) Application Fee Ongoing Fees Max LVR Monthly Payment Short Description
UBank UHomeLoan Variable Rate - Discount Offer for Owner Occupiers, Variable P&I Rate
2.49%
2.49%
$0
$0 p.a.
80%
Enjoy flexible repayments, a redraw facility and the ability to split your loan. Plus, pay no application or ongoing fees.
St.George Basic Home Loan - LVR 60% to 80% (Owner Occupier, P&I)
2.54%
2.56%
$0
$0 p.a.
80%
Up to $4,000 refinance cashback. A competitive variable rate loan from St.George. Refinancers borrowing $250,000 or more can get $4,000 cashback (Other terms, conditions and exclusions apply).
Athena Celebrate Home Loan - 60% LVR  Owner Occupier, P&I
2.34%
2.34%
$0
$0 p.a.
60%
Owner occupiers with 40% deposits or equity can get this competitive variable rate loan. No upfront or ongoing fees.
Westpac Flexi First Option Home Loan - Basic Variable Rate (Owner Occupier, P&I)
2.29%
2.72%
$0
$8 monthly ($96 p.a.)
95%
Up to $3,000 refinance cashback.
A flexible and competitive variable rate loan. Eligible borrowers refinancing $250,000 or more can get $2,000 cashback per property plus a bonus $1,000 for their first application. Other conditions apply.
homeloans.com.au Low Rate Home Loan with Offset - LVR Under 60% (Owner Occupier, P&I)
2.29%
2.31%
$0
$0 p.a.
60%
A competitive rate with no application or ongoing fee. This loan is not available for construction.
HSBC Home Value Loan - Promotional Offer (Owner Occupier P&I)
2.59%
2.60%
$0
$0 p.a.
80%
Get a low interest rate loan with no ongoing fees. Plus you can make extra repayments and free redraw online.
Yard Variable Home Loan - LVR 80% Special (Owner Occupier, P&I)
2.39%
2.42%
$0
$0 p.a.
80%
A very low variable rate loan for home buyers with an optional offset account ($10 monthly fee). 20% deposit required.
Virgin Money Reward Me Variable Home Loan - LVR ≤ 60% (<$500k Owner Occupier, P&I)
2.64%
2.81%
$300
$10 monthly ($120 p.a.)
60%
$3,000 refinance cashback.
A variable rate loan for owner occupiers with a 40% deposit (or equity) borrowing under $500,000. Get a $3,000 cashback when you switch to Virgin Money with a loan amount of $300,000 or more with an LVR up to 80%. You must apply by 29 November 2020 and settle by 28 February 2021.
Athena Liberate Home Loan - 70% to 80% LVR Owner Occupier, P&I
2.44%
2.38%
$0
$0 p.a.
80%
A competitive variable rate mortgage for owner occupiers $0 application and $0 ongoing fees. This interest rate falls over time as you pay off the loan.
IMB Budget Home Loan - LVR ≤80% (Owner Occupier, P&I, NSW and ACT borrowers only)
2.61%
2.67%
$449
$0 p.a.
80%
A competitive variable rate for borrowers with 20% deposits saved. Available for NSW and ACT borrowers only.
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Logo for Westpac Flexi First Option Home Loan - Basic Variable Rate (Owner Occupier, P&I)
Westpac Flexi First Option Home Loan - Basic Variable Rate (Owner Occupier, P&I)

Up to $3,000 refinance cashback. A flexible and competitive variable rate loan. Eligible borrowers refinancing $250,000 or more can get $2,000 cashback per property plus a bonus $1,000 for their first application. Other conditions apply.

Logo for St.George Basic Home Loan - LVR 60% to 80% (Owner Occupier, P&I)
St.George Basic Home Loan - LVR 60% to 80% (Owner Occupier, P&I)

Up to $4,000 refinance cashback. A competitive variable rate loan from St.George. Refinancers borrowing $250,000 or more can get $4,000 cashback (Other terms, conditions and exclusions apply).

Logo for Athena Liberate Home Loan - 70% to 80% LVR Owner Occupier, P&I
Athena Liberate Home Loan - 70% to 80% LVR Owner Occupier, P&I

A competitive variable rate mortgage for owner occupiers $0 application and $0 ongoing fees. This interest rate falls over time as you pay off the loan.

Logo for UBank UHomeLoan Variable Rate - Discount Offer for Owner Occupiers, Variable P&I Rate
UBank UHomeLoan Variable Rate - Discount Offer for Owner Occupiers, Variable P&I Rate

Take advantage of a low-fee mortgage with a special interest rate of just 2.49% p.a. and a 2.49% p.a. comparison rate.

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6 Responses

  1. Default Gravatar
    OliveJuly 4, 2018

    I am apermanent resident of Australia and retired from one of the United Nations Agencies.Can I have homeloan with my retirement income?

    • Default Gravatar
      NikkiJuly 5, 2018

      Hi Olive!

      Thanks for leaving a question on our page.

      Yes, you can definitely get a home loan in Australia. To compare your options you may go to this page.

      Hope this was helpful. Don’t hesitate to message us back if you have more questions.

      Cheers,
      Nikki

  2. Default Gravatar
    ZamSeptember 5, 2017

    Hi

    I am an Australian permanent resident since 2006, and I have been working overseas for an ASX-listed subsidiary for the past three years. Will I be able to get a home loan?

    • Default Gravatar
      LiezlSeptember 6, 2017

      Hi Zam,

      Thanks for reaching out. Yes, you may be eligible to apply for a home loan. However, you’ll need to check whether the bank has any lending restrictions imposed that will have an impact on your ability to qualify for a home loan. It will be a good idea to enlist the services of a mortgage broker who is familiar with the lending criteria and process and has an access to many different loan options.

      Cheers,
      Liezl

  3. Default Gravatar
    DebraJuly 12, 2017

    Hi, We are Australian citizens living in Australia who currently have an Engineering consultancy business that generates its income from overseas (100% foreign income). We are wanting to use our business (trust account) to purchase a property in Australia – is there a bank that will lend us money?

    Many thanks

    • Default Gravatar
      JonathanJuly 26, 2017

      Hello Debra,

      Thank you for your inquiry today.

      You can check your options for home loans designed for self-employed. You can put on the comparison table the amount you wish to borrow and the term, then click “Calculate” orange button to have the figures updated and know the rates of each lender.

      Alternatively, you may also consider low-doc home loans.

      Hope this helps.

      Cheers,
      Jonathan

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