Tighter curbs have been imposed on foreigners buying houses in Australia after an unprecedented rise in home prices in major Australian cities. Foreigners now need official permission to buy homes.
Treasurer Paul Keating said only immigrants with permanent residency or foreign companies seeking accommodation for resident senior executives would be allowed to buy houses. But property agents said the action was unlikely to ease growing pressure on housing, particularly in choice urban areas and on medium-priced homes. Real estate agents say there is a chronic shortage of homes.
The value of homes in Sydney's smart residential districts has risen by between 20% to 100% in 12 months. A recent survey by The Bulletin business magazine showed that housing was being snapped up by foreigners at a rate of $178 million a month.
Chinese from Malaysia, Hong Kong and Singapore have been traditional buyers, but investors from New Zealand, South Africa and Japan have flooded the market in the past year.