What Countries Can You Buy Property Without Being a Citizen?

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Moving abroad is a big adventure. However, organising a place to live and whether you qualify for residency can be a hassle. Visa requirements are different in every country, and you cannot always buy a property unless you’re a citizen. We’ll cover all your questions about purchasing foreign property without citizenship.

Can I Buy Property in Australia Without Being a Citizen?

Non-Australian citizens are allowed to buy property. However, they may face restrictions. To purchase any property or land in Oz, non-citizens must apply to FIRB for approval. Generally speaking, foreigners can only buy new buildings or vacant land. 

If you move to Oz as a temporary resident, you might be allowed to purchase existing dwellings, but you will have to sell as soon as you move out. There are no limits to what Australian expats can buy.

Can I Buy Property in the Middle East Without Being a Citizen?

Foreigners can purchase property in the United Arab Emirates, Saudi Arabia, Oman, and Qatar. However, most countries limit foreign purchasers to buying only freehold developments. Similarly, most countries automatically extend residency rights to foreign purchasers. 

Other restrictions vary between countries – for example, in Saudi Arabia, foreign buyers must own the property for five years before selling.

What Countries Can You Buy Property Without Being a Citizen?

Can I Buy Property in Asia Without Being a Citizen?

Depending on where you wish to buy property in Asia, you might face restrictions. In Thailand, you need special permission from the Minister of the Interior if 49% of the building is foreign-owned. There are some workarounds, but they tend to be costly. 

In China, you must have worked or studied in the country for at least one year before purchasing a property. Although, there are fewer restrictions in Macau and Hong Kong. In Singapore, foreigners can buy a freehold property, but they might have to navigate further limits.

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Can I Buy Property in Europe Without Being a Citizen?

Many countries in Europe allow foreigners to buy property. France, Germany, Spain, and Italy all have relatively few restrictions. However, you may need to apply for a visa in order to settle in the country permanently. In Bulgaria, foreigners can only buy buildings; they cannot purchase land. 

Foreigners can also buy property in the UK without being a citizen. That said, getting a foreign mortgage in Europe is often a lot more challenging. 

Buying property in the UK or Europe does not automatically grant the purchaser residency. 

Can I Buy Property in South America Without Being a Citizen?

Most Latin American governments are very welcoming to foreign investors. Foreign purchasers will face very few restrictions. 

In Brazil, foreign nationals can purchase almost any property with the same rights as Brazilians. The only restrictions are on properties located near areas of national security, near the coast, or borders. In Argentina, some locations might require additional paperwork, but, on the whole, foreign nationals can enjoy the same property rights as Argentinians.

Can I Buy Property in North America Without Being a Citizen?

Regulations vary significantly between countries in North America. For example, the US has quite tight restrictions, whereas Panama has very few rules. Anyone can technically buy a property in the US. However, US taxation rules and mortgage restrictions make it more complicated. In Canada, laws vary between states, with some that require foreigners to buy a property of a specific size.

Can I Buy Property in Africa Without Being a Citizen?

Most countries in Africa, including South Africa, Botswana, Namibia, Morocco, and Egypt, allow foreign buyers to own property. You might be restricted to freehold residential land. However, you won’t need to apply for approval or navigate complex laws. Uganda and Nigeria have more restrictive rules for foreign purchasers.

What Countries Can You Buy Property Without Being a Citizen?

Can I Get an Australian Home Loan to Buy Property Abroad?

Unfortunately, lenders in Australia are no longer offering multi-currency or foreign currency loans. Instead, all Australian loans must be in Australian dollars. 

Additionally, Australian banks are unlikely to take your foreign property as security against your home loan. Therefore, unless you have another asset in Australia that you can use as security, it’s unlikely you can get an Australian home loan to purchase property abroad.

While many other countries allow foreigners to own property, they’re more restrictive with their mortgage lending policies. In fact, many countries require that foreign buyers pay in cash. Accordingly, the biggest hurdle Aussies looking to buy property abroad is finance.

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Frequently Asked Questions

Can You Own Property in a Country Where You Are Not a Citizen?

Yes, many countries around the globe allow non-citizens to purchase and own property. That said, in some countries, you need to apply for approval or navigate certain restrictions. For example, foreigners must apply for FIRB approval in Australia and only buy new buildings or vacant land.

Which Countries Can You Buy a House and Get Residency?

If you buy a property in Dubai, the UAE, Malta, Turkey, and many other countries, you’ll get the same rights as residents. In most countries, buying a property will help you apply for citizenship. However, you might also need to live in the country for a lengthy period before qualifying for residency.

In Which Country Foreigners Can Buy Property?

Most countries allow foreigners to purchase a property. Some have a few restrictions on the type of property or land foreigners can buy. Additionally, many countries restrict their mortgage and lending policies for foreigners.

Which Country Is the Cheapest to Buy a House?

Compared to Australia, many other countries have relatively cheap real estate. However, remember that ‘cheapest’ doesn’t necessarily mean value for money. Surprisingly affordable countries include Italy, Ecuador, and Brazil, among others.

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