A FEDERAL crackdown on overseas buyers who have sought to purchase homes contrary to foreign investment rules has stopped 15 transactions since it was announced nine months ago.
Three were in Sydney, with other sales thwarted in the Byron Bay district, the Gold Coast, Melbourne and Perth.
The most expensive was a $6.4 million house on Victoria Road, Bellevue Hill. The proposed purchase by Jun Qiu was blocked on January 5 by the compliance and real estate screening unit of the Treasury’s foreign investment division.
The planned purchase of a $2.3 million house at South Golden Beach, near Byron Bay, by an English couple, David and Angela Wright, was also not given approval earlier this month.
On the Gold Coast, the sale of a vacant block at Paradise Point, which remains listed for sale at $4.4 million, was stopped.
Less expensive sales of a $550,000 house at Seven Hills and a unit at Sefton were also halted.
The Bellevue Hill house was listed for sale in May with $7 million expected, having last traded in 2003 for $3.95 million.
The Department of Treasury said a further 73 proposed residential real estate purchases had been withdrawn voluntarily after laws on Australian property ownership were tightened last April.
Under the new rules, temporary residents have to seek approval to buy real estate in Australia. Overseas-based investors are encouraged to buy newly built real estate, and must start construction on vacant land within two years. The laws stem from a government desire to restrict rapid house price increases.
None of the 15 blocked property transfers resulted from public calls to a 1800 hotline aimed at trying to stop people buying real estate outside the foreign investment laws.
The hotline has received 131 calls since the former assistant treasurer Nick Sherry announced it and other measures aimed at cooling fears that foreign buyers were driving prices up.
He also announced a monitoring system, piloted in Sydney and Melbourne, to match records from the Foreign Investment Review Board with state land title offices and visas from the Department of Immigration to track who was buying what.
All 15 of the real estate transactions were picked up in routine screening since November. The orders, made on behalf of the Treasurer, do not give an explanation of how the sales would be contrary to the national interest.
Tags: buyers, investment, overseas, property, real estate