Date
27 May 2017
Houses in Australian cities are popular among foreigners, but sales to them are legal only if the properties are new. Photo: internet
Houses in Australian cities are popular among foreigners, but sales to them are legal only if the properties are new. Photo: internet

Australia orders sale of 7 houses foreigners bought illegally

The Australian government has ordered the sale of seven residential properties bought in breach of foreign ownership laws — two by Hongkongers — in a response to concerns that offshore buyers are driving up house prices.

Australian capital city homes are considered among the most overpriced in the world, and the federal government announced in March new and expanded punishments for foreigners who breach existing rules restricting them to buying new homes only.

Treasurer Scott Morrison said Wednesday the forced sale of seven properties takes to 19 the total number of homes the government has declared were bought illegally by foreigners, mostly Chinese nationals, and ordered sold.

Morrison said that since the foreign ownership crackdown began in March, the government has investigated 1,044 property sales and has another 532 sales under investigation.

He said the seven latest mandatory resales included a A$5.2 million (US$3.7 million) house in the city of Melbourne, bought illegally by a Chinese national, as well as three more homes bought by Chinese, two by Hongkongers and one by a German.

The government also blocked the A$4.4 million sale of a house in Melbourne to an Iranian national because it was “contrary to Australia’s national interest”, Morrison said.

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