Agents who help foreigners illegally buy homes face penalties

29 May 2015

Real Estate Agents who do not check if buyers are eligible to purchase existing houses and third parties who buy properties on behalf of foreigners will be in the sights of authorities.

Kelly O’Dwyer, Parliamentary secretary to the federal Treasurer, said that some agents had engaged in “wilful blindness” in dealing with foreign investors, who are only allowed to buy new houses.

“The real estate agents themselves have not always had great education around the rules,” Ms O’Dwyer told a recent forum.

“When people themselves can be subject to a penalty, when their companies can be subject to a penalty, I think that does sharpen the focus of people’s minds.”

Addressing a meeting of  residents angry over competition by foreigners for housing, Ms O’Dwyer said the Reserve Bank had confirmed a link with costs.

“There is strong evidence to suggest that where you have foreign investment in particular pockets and in some suburbs … it does increase house prices because you have increased competition and restricted supply, and that’s just pretty basic economics,” she said.

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