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  • Writer's pictureAlison Wong

After buying property in Australia, can I study? | The benefits of studying in Australia

Updated: Apr 11

In 2023, an unprecedented tide of studying abroad swept Australia again. After the pandemic suppressed studying abroad for 3 years, the Australian border reopened. In fact, not only are international students pouring into Australia, but many new immigrants are coming too.

Under such circumstances, the problem of accommodating international students in Australia has become a top priority. In particular, the current rental market in major cities in Australia is hot, and the Australian media has described a “rental crisis.”

Since the beginning of 2023, tens of thousands of international students have been searching for houses to accommodate them. Many international students have applied for more than a dozen houses and have not been selected for any of them. They are worried that one day they may face the embarrassment of “living on the street”.

Because of this, the phrase “in support of houses” has been common among Australian international students. As a result, many international students and their parents are choosing to buy property in Australia, and there are many unexpected benefits.

1. What are the advantages of “in support of houses” in Australia?

Today, when globalisation is deepening, each of us can choose to go to any of our ideal countries to study and live, and immigrants have become more and more normal. 

However, not every country has multiple attractions like Australia.

There are many benefits to studying in Australia. Although the United States, Canada, Western Europe and other countries, for example, are also popular destinations for studying abroad, the threshold for home buying is high. Taking the United States as an example, every state in the US levies real estate taxes every year. The tax rate is generally 1% to 3%. A property with a market value of 3 million Hong Kong dollars pays at least HK$30,000 a year. In addition, the cost of subsequent housing is high, and it is relatively difficult to rent and transfer property ownership.

Australia is different. First, the Australian real estate market is very active, with high rental returns, and the vacancy rate is below 2%. In 2023, due to the popularity of Australian immigrants and the study-abroad market, the vacancy rate further dropped to less than 1%. It can be said that the Australian rental market has provided a high rental return on the rental market all year round.

Secondly, real estate in Australia has the advantages of low down payments for new houses, permanent property rights, no inheritance tax, rental potential, real estate transactions and investment in the legal system. If you want to start a business in Australia, you can also use a real estate mortgage loan.

2. Can international students buy property in Australia?

One of the benefits of studying in Australia is that international students can buy property in Australia. But if you want to apply for loans, proof of income is necessary. Although international students have no or less income, they can use their parents as guarantors to guarantee loans with the guarantor’s income. Of course, the house will be in their parents’ names.

3. What are the choices for Australian students to buy property?

Regardless of whether or not international students have a temporary visa that allows them to stay in Australia for more than 12 months, they can apply for FIRB (Foreign Investment Review Board) to obtain approval and purchase land for building houses, buy new houses, etc. The same applies whether they are buying for self-occupation or overseas property investment in Australia.

Unless the developer has obtained the FIRB “New Dwelling Exempting Certification”, it is generally necessary to apply for FIRB approval separately whether you are buying a new or a secondhand house.

4. How much is the cost of studying in Australia?

Take the accommodation fee for four years in Australia as an example. One choice is to buy Australian property, and the other is to rent a house. Many parents think it is not much different, but this gap will become more obvious over time.

If you choose to buy, although you need to invest some funds to start (such as a down payment and stamp duty), the rental income and the increase in value of the house itself will eventually benefit the buyer. After studying in Australia, you can not only live in your own property but also earn rent. The most important thing is that you can use the building to make overseas asset allocations in advance and enjoy the dividend of market growth. 

Many parents send their children to study in Australia. The ultimate goal is to make plans for immigrants. Buying buildings in Australia is even better. Otherwise, the more expensive property prices will be wasted for several years.

I have recently calculated the investment value of Mr Wang, a client. Mr Wang’s daughter began to study at Monash University in Melbourne, Australia, in February 2023. Currently, his daughter rents a 2-bedroom apartment with her classmates for $18,720 a year. Assuming that the rental price does not rise in the next few years, the accommodation fee for four years will be $74,880.

However, suppose Mr Wang purchased a set of two-bedroom properties worth about $700,000 Australian dollars (about 3.8 million Hong Kong dollars) in Melbourne, Australia. In that case, his daughter could live in one bedroom and rent the other. That way, she could save her 4-year rental fee. In four years, rent can also be collected to offset some loans.

5. Can Australia’s “in support of houses” achieve zero costs to study abroad?

If you buy real estate in Australia when you start studying here, by the time international students graduate, the value will increase. If you choose high-quality real estate, the house value can even pay for your tuition whilst studying in Australia. For families with a sufficient budget, rent can be a rich “cash flow” for children, enough to pay their living expenses and parts of their Australian tuition fees.

However, achieving zero costs through overseas property investment in Australia is not achievable by everyone, and the feasibility varies from person to person. The key is to find professionals who are very familiar with Australia’s real estate rules and industry. Buying a high-quality property is not enough if you buy it with your eyes closed.

6. Can Hong Kong assets be used for a mortgage to buy a house in Australia?

When buying a property in Australia, you may require a mortgage to purchase real estate. If you have assets in Hong Kong, this will make for a more convincing case when applying for a mortgage, but your assets in Hong Kong are “adequate and non-necessary conditions.” In fact, if the buyer can make the first payment of the property price of more than 30% at one time, Australian financial institutions will already be confident in your financial ability.

7. Can international students buy Australian secondhand houses?

According to FIRB’s regulations, international students hold a 500 study visa (allowing them to stay legally in Australia) and are temporary residents of Australia. Therefore, they can buy a secondhand house for self-residential purposes (that is, the resident must use this property as their main residence in Australia).

But you need to pay attention because:

a. You must sell the property within three months of visa expiry or departure (that is, sell this property within 3 months after the resident stops using the property as their main residence) unless you become an Australian citizen or permanent resident.

b. All international students must apply for FIRB, and the application fee differs according to house prices.

c. Do not rent or sub-rent, otherwise, it violates the FIRB regulations (that is, the resident may not rent this property or part of it out to a third party). 

After the international student visa expires, if the secondhand property is illegally held, international students will face a fine of tens of thousands of Australian dollars or three-year imprisonment in accordance with the law.

I don’t recommend buying secondhand buildings when studying abroad in Australia. There are few advantages except for renting and earning rental income. If there is trouble with your Visa or your Visa expires, you must sell the secondhand property, meaning it is difficult to make an increase in the Australian property market.

Today, more and more international students buy property in Australia to achieve the purpose of “housing care”, in addition to the family overseas asset allocation in advance. Australia’s property prices have also begun to show signs of rebound under the promotion of this general trend, and new real estate is even more sought after. If you calculate the rent cost that may be afforded in the future, when funds are sufficient, buying a house is absolutely necessary, and the sooner, the better.

You can also watch the video below to learn more about Australia property news:

Alison’s Story

Born in Hong Kong an moved to Australia, I have been associated with real estate all my life. As the plane slowly landed on the runway of Melbourne Airport, my life and career also changed to another runway. I changed from a Hong Kong real estate agent to an Australian real estate agent, and successfully obtained the Australian lawyer qualification.

When I was working in a law firm, I was surrounded by highly educated professionals. Even though their wages are very well, and they are absolutely the elites in society, but their lives are full of hard labor, and it’s hard for them to get rich through buying properties.

So I spend all my time and effort on learning financial and real estate investment knowledge, hoping to achieve financial freedom as soon as possible, and let my parents who have worked hard for many years live a good life.

Now I will share with you the knowledge and experience of investing in Australian real estate, and embark on the road to financial freedom together.

Alison Australian real estate information platform

The original intention of Miss Alison to establish is to provide neutral Australian real estate information through this platform and help investors establish the most suitable investment strategy.






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