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Many buyer's agents advise not restricting yourself to properties around where you live. Instead, they encourage investors to explore investment opportunities all over Australia.

That line of thinking might beg the question: why stop there?

There's a big wide world out there with presumably plenty of opportunities for savvy buyers, but taking advantage of overseas investment options can be a more complicated process than buying property domestically.

Buying property overseas

As you'd probably expect, there are a few extra steps to take when the property you're trying to buy is in a different country.

Here are just a few factors that might be worth thinking about if you're considering embarking on an international property investment journey.

Local laws

If you've got a particular country in mind, you'll need to check whether you're actually allowed to buy property there.

In Iceland, for instance, you can only buy property if you're a citizen or resident, while Canada recently extended a blanket ban on foreign investors. On the other hand, the USA and UK place few restrictions on foreigners buying property.

Some nations also have general restrictions on what landlords can and cannot do in the management of an investment property. Caps on rent increases are common in Europe for example, and many countries place limits on no-fault evictions.

You'll want to get familiar with the tenancy laws in your country of choice before pulling the trigger.


Australian lenders generally won't accept a non-Australian property as security for a home loan. That's largely because it's much more difficult to repossess a property located in a different country.

Nevertheless, there are still a few options international investors might be able to take advantage of when it comes to financing an overseas purchase:

  • Equity in existing property: If you already own an Australian property, you might be able to borrow against your equity in order to purchase an overseas investment. Home equity loans are secured against an existing property and can circumvent the fact that Australian lenders typically don't provide mortgages for the purchase of an overseas property. These loans tend to capped at 80% of your total equity.

  • International banks: Another option worth exploring could be international lenders - some banks and lenders may operate both in Australia and the country you're investing in. HSBC, for example, lends to 62 different countries, including Australia, so may allow you to borrow against an international property.

  • Domestic banks: Finally, you may simply be able to get a loan from a bank that operates in the country you are investing in. Depending on the bank and an individual country's laws, there may be restrictions that apply to foreign borrowers. In some nations, non-residents need to put up a higher portion of a property's value as a deposit, for example.


While you may be legally allowed to buy property in a certain country, you'll also need to check that country's tax code to see what your taxation obligations will be once you've purchased.

Meanwhile, back in Australia, you need to pay income tax if you're turning a profit on rental income realised overseas. On the other hand, if you're making an annual loss on your investment, negative gearing may still apply, so holding a loss-making overseas investment property might allow you to reduce your taxable income. You'll also need to pay capital gains tax in Australia if you make a profit on the sale of an overseas property.

Where to invest?

When considering investing outside of Australia, some people will already have a specific country in mind.

For example, migrants might want to buy property in their nation of origin, and those purchasing a holiday home might have a specific destination in mind.

But, if you're still exploring your options, here are some of the most common international investment options for Australians.

Asia and Oceania

New Zealand

For many Aussies, the most straightforward country to invest in is New Zealand.

While the Kiwis do have general restrictions on foreigners buying property, there are exceptions for Australian citizens. Trans-Tasman arrangements mean that in many instances, Aussies have the same rights as New Zealand citizens when it comes to buying residential property or vacant land for development.

Per CoreLogic, the national median property price in New Zealand was NZD$933,633 as of April 2024 (approximately $854,500, at the time of writing) - well above the Australian average ($779,817).

Though, New Zealand property values are still over 10% below their all time peak, and CoreLogic NZ Chief Property Economist Kelvin Davidson says the nation remains a buyer's market.

"Given the rise in total listings available on the market, as new properties come forward for sale, but actual transactions remain subdued, it's no surprise price growth has flattened off," he said.

At the same time, you'll also need to take higher interest rates into account when considering your financing options. The Reserve Bank of New Zealand (RBNZ) held the official cash rate at 5.50% in May 2024, meaning New Zealand investors generally face higher mortgage rates than those in Australia.


Foreigners are also allowed to own property in Japan, where interest rates are typically lower than the rest of the developed world. Though, some are predicting Japan's central bank will hike rates further in 2024.

South Korea and Singapore are other Asian nations that permit foreigners to own property.

However, you'll have less luck in places like China, Thailand, or Vietnam.


United Kingdom

In the United Kingdom, there are no restrictions on foreigners buying property.

However, the UK currently has higher average mortgage rates than Australia does, with the nation's Bank Rate sitting at 5.25% as of May 2024.

UK landlords also face relatively tight restrictions. They must provide a minimum of six months' notice for no-fault evictions and have to limit rent increases to once per year.

European Union

The cash rate in the European Union is comparatively lower, at 4.50% as of May '24, which might make countries like France or Germany look attractive.

At the same time, French landlords are not only restricted to increasing rent just once per year, they also cannot increase rent by more than 3.5%, so how much cash flow a foreign investors' rental property can generate will be limited.

In Germany, where more than half the population rents, the government announced a three-year freeze on rent increases, starting in August 2023.

There are about 5.2 million foreign property investors in Italy. Though, rent increases there are capped at 75% of the annual inflation index (similar to how the ACT does things).

North America

Lloyd Edge, founder and managing director of buyers agency Aus Property Professionals, says there are often enticing investment opportunities in the USA.

"[The USA] is an interesting one because people generally buy apartment buildings over there," he told Your Mortgage.

"[In Australia] you'd buy individual apartments, but for similar money over in the States in various areas you'd buy the whole building essentially."

There are also very few restrictions on overseas property investors stateside, unlike in neighbouring Canada where investing in property isn't an option for Aussies at the moment.

If you're looking for a bargain, Mexico is another popular destination, particularly for development. But while there may be notable growth opportunities in Mexico, interest rates on home loans there are often higher - typically around 8% to 12%.


If you're a more speculative investor, you might be drawn to property markets in developing countries.

A quick browse on in areas like Africa or Southeast Asia will yield an abundance of properties available for a small fraction of the price equivalent homes in Australia would sell for.

However, Mr Edge cautions buyers tempted by cheap and affordable properties overseas that a low price does not always make a great deal.

"You look at a property for $40,000 … it would cost ten times that much to buy a cheap property in Australia … you think, 'oh this is great,' but is it really that great?" he said.

"Maybe that property will always be worth $40,000, or [its value] will go down because property may not have that value in some countries … value [comes from] what people will pay for it.

"You really need to do your research and understand what's happening in that country … looking at how stable the economy is, how stable the government is, and things like that."

If you're looking to pursue one of these high risk, high reward investments, financing might be easier if you pick a nation that an international bank like HSBC operates in. Brazil, Egypt, India, Indonesia, South Africa, the Philippines, and Sri Lanka are a few examples.

Benefits to buying property from outside Australia

Spread exposure

International investing can be a good opportunity for those who already own Australian property to diversify their portfolio.

While property is generally viewed as a safer investment class, it is never risk free.

There is always a possibility that the Australian market could take a hit, so adding property from elsewhere to your portfolio can help spread your exposure, diversify your holdings, and feasibly reduce risk.

Invest in developing markets

Australia is one of the most advanced economies in the world, so it follows that its property market is among the world's most expensive.

Even in other developed nations, like the USA, there are areas where property is available at a heavy discount.

However, this is normally because of lower demand, so buyers should be aware that investing in affordable international property is usually more speculative.

As is the case with most investments, a higher ceiling for returns tends to mean taking on greater risk.

Drawbacks to overseas property investing

Property management issues

Managing a property from another country can bring quite a few challenges.

For instance, addressing maintenance issues becomes a lot harder from thousands of kilometers away, and could be twice as difficult if you don't share a language with a property manager or tradesperson.

Enlisting a local property manager can help mitigate some of these issues, but even managing this relationship could be challenging due to things like language differences and time zone variances.

Legal complexity

The laws and regulations regarding investing in your nation of choice might be very different to those in Australia.

Would-be investors need to take the time to learn a whole new set of property laws, including ownership rights, tenancy regulations, and zoning laws for developers, before making the leap to purchase a dwelling.

Political instability

While Australia's standing as one of the world's most advanced economies means property can be more expensive here, Australia is also one of the world's most politically stable nations.

Negative shocks that can harm property values, such as war, are less likely to befall Australia compared to many other parts of the world, especially more traditionally volatile regions like Africa or the Middle East.

Tips for Australians buying property overseas

Do your research

It's important to do your research before investing in anything, but research becomes even more vital if you're investing somewhere you are unfamiliar with.

You should make sure you have a good understanding of the laws, the property market fundamentals, and general stability of a nation in question before you consider buying housing there.

Check the property out

One of the most common reasons people choose to invest in property close to where they live is that doing so often means they're able to visit the property, whether for maintenance or for inspections.

If an investment property is located on the other side of the world, such visits are less feasible but no less important.

Ideally, Mr Edge says you or a representative of yours should check a property out in person before you buy it.

"Buying sight unseen, or even buying and then deciding to go and have a look, when you're on the other side of the world can be fraught with danger," he said.

Engage locals

Mr Edge recommends consulting a local buyer's agent before any overseas investment.

"You need to really understand what you're doing and maybe have someone on the ground over there who can assist you with that," he said.

"[Buyers] should do their own research and then engage a buyer's agent."

A buyer's agent should be familiar with the local market as well as local laws and regulations, and might be able to offer extra insight into where to buy property and the long term investment prospects of doing so.

Picture by Tim Alex on Unsplash