The Australian government has demanded that some overseas buyers sell their properties due to being bought illegally.
Australia has demanded that 15 properties which were bought illegally by overseas buyers be sold. The Australian government is cracking down on such breaches of its foreign investment laws, and this is expected to be the first move of many.
Treasurer Scott Morrison released a statement yesterday which provided details of the properties in question, which are located in Victoria and Queensland, and have a combined value of over A$14 million (around £8.5 million). The 15 individual properties range in value from A$140,000 to A$5.9 million.
The Australian government is under pressure to prove that foreign-ownership rules are being followed. According to figures from the Australian Bureau of Statistics, house prices in the country’s largest cities have risen by a whopping 50% in the past decade and there is concern that foreign buyers are fuelling this boom.
The sales demand has been placed on owners originating from Germany, China, India, the UK, Indonesia, Malaysia and Iran. The recent announcement brings the total of forced sales to 61 – with a combined value of A$107 million – since the crackdown started two years ago. Another 36 foreign property owners sold up during the course of the Australian Taxation Office’s investigations, the government announced.
However, a Treasury working paper published at the end of last year, claimed that “only a small proportion” of the rise in Australian house prices should be attributed to overseas investors.
Since 2010, foreign buyers have only been allowed to purchase new-build properties in the country after receiving government approval, and can’t buy existing homes. The Australian government is now in the process of enforcing that order.