Foreign buyers to incur fines for vacant property

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The federal budget is set to slap foreign property buyers with thousands of dollars in fees if they leave their investment properties vacant, according to a new report from Sky News. The new measure could see foreign property investors pay fees as high as $5,000 per property if their homes or apartments are left empty.

These fees would be on top of the Foreign Investment Review Board’s hefty residential land fees. Currently, foreign non-residents are required to apply for foreign investment approval before purchasing any residential property in Australia, and pay fees ranging from $5,000 to $90,000 per property, depending on its value.

The resulting revenue will be utilised to fund other housing affordability measures in the budget, according to Sky News.

In March, The Daily Telegraph reported that government ministers were examining ways to apply a vacancy tax on foreign buyers who leave their investment properties unoccupied, driving up rental rates in the process. One proposal would be to investigate the daily water usage of each property in co-operation with the states.

Labor recently announced they would pursue further policy measures, including a vacancy tax on property. Shadow Treasurer Chris Bowen said Labor would facilitate a Council of Australian Government process to introduce a standardised vacant property tax across all major cities if Labor were to gain office.

Related stories:
Victoria Unveils New Property Tax, Closes Loophole
How Sellers Can Safeguard Themselves When Dealing With Foreign Buyers


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