The Federal Government’s crackdown on cashed up foreign investors continues, with more foreign investors forced to sell residential Australian real estate.
In a statement released on Saturday, treasurer Joe Hockey announced that he ordered the sale of six residential properties unlawfully held by foreign nationals.
“Australia welcomes foreign investment and Australia needs foreign investment but, at all times, foreign investors must comply with our laws,” he said.
“Australia’s foreign investment policy for residential real estate is designed to increase Australia’s housing stock, but those who break the rules and purchase established property illegally are doing so to the detriment of all Australians.”
According to Hockey, some of the properties were purchased with Foreign Investment Review Board approval, but the investor failed to comply with the divestment requirements after their circumstances changed. However, other properties were purchased illegally without approval.
The foreign nationals who have been forced to sell currently live in four different countries. The five different orders relate to six established properties, with one investor owning two properties. The purchase prices of the properties range in value from $152,000 to $1.86 million.
However, the investors voluntarily came forward to take advantage of the amnesty Hockey announced in May. They now have 12 months to sell the properties, rather than the normal three month period, and will not be referred for criminal prosecution.
According to Hockey, since transferring residential real estate compliance functions to the ATO in May, over 2,000 pieces of information relating to suspected breaches have come to light via data matching with third party sources including the Foreign Investment Review Board, Immigration, AUSTRAC and state and territory land title offices.
“Through the information provided by the public, together with our own enquiries, we now have 462 cases under active investigation,” Hockey said.
“I expect more divestment orders will be announced in the not too distant future.”