For anyone who is interested I am just listing below the changes (as much as I could find out) which the Government made in December 2008 to the rules for foreign ownership of property. These changes were made on the sly without consultation with the community or experts.
- Temporary visa holders do not now have to notify the FIRB of proposed acquisitions.
- Overseas businesses can buy property to accommodate staff.
- ALL apartments in new projects can now be sold to foreigners. Previously only 50% could.
- There is now no limit on what student visa holders who live in Australia can spend on property and they don't have to sell when they leave the country. They previously could only spend up to $300,00 per property .
Seeing as I watched prices in my neighbouring suburb increase 53% last year, directly as a result of buying from Chinese purchasers, I am extremely concerned about this issue. Prices in Melbourne have risen over 19% in the last year.
We have a situation in Australia where loan approvals have fallen for five months in a row and yet at the same time we have record auction clearance rates! A most unusual situation. A lot of Australians probably aren't seeing what is happening as a lot of the buying is in inner city suburbs.
The Chinese have recently pushed up property prices in Hong Kong and Singapore and the governments there have imposed policies to cool the housing markets.
Our Government now has no way of tracking how many overseas buyers there are here.
How are Australians who are not in the market going to be able to afford to get into the market with this going on?
Yet another thing that the Labor Party has touched which has turned into an unmitigated disaster.
I rang Wayne Swan's office this morning to ask when the changes are going to be reversed and was told that "it's on the Government's radar and there will be an announcement about it shortly".
I urge any of you who are interested to contact your local member about the issue.