Mortgages in Australia and New Zealand

Unless you already have the savings or are planning to release equity from your home in the UK to buy property in Australia or New Zealand, there is a good chance that you will need to secure a mortgage to finance your purchase.

The Australians and New Zealanders generally tend to call mortgages ‘home loans’, but the systems are much the same. Single people can borrow up to three times their annual salary, whilst couples can borrow up to 4.5 times their combined annual salary and most banks may extend these limits if they feel satisfied that you can support the repayments.

The Australia mortgage system

In order to secure a mortgage in Australia, you will need to be an Australian or a resident. If your visa does not enable you to stay in Australia indefinitely, then you are more than likely not going to be granted a mortgage to buy a home in Australia.

In reality, you need to have a job offer at the least before you can even start talking to a lender in Australia about a home loan. Most people buying real estate in Australia are able to borrow 80% of the property value. In some cases it is possible to borrow up to a maximum of 95%. However, this depends on where you are living, if you are an Australian citizen or not, as well as the terms of your current visa.

You may need approval from the Foreign Investment Review Board (FIRB), depending on your circumstances.

The New Zealand mortgage system

Generally speaking, if you have met the government’s requirements to work or live in New Zealand as a skilled migrant, you will almost certainly meet the mortgage requirements of most lenders.

When assessing overseas people for a mortgage, banks split them into three divisions.

  • Division 1 – Permanent Residence. Lenders will provide you with identical mortgage facilities to New Zealand citizens. This includes mortgages of up to 95% loan-to-value (LTV).
  • Division 2 – Work Permit. Lenders will require more commitment from you than they would from a permanent resident, with mortgages at up to 80% LTV typically available.
  • Division 3 – Holiday Homes. Lenders will apply very similar rules to overseas people on holiday to the lending rules applied to people in Division 2.

Lending terms

Lenders in Australia and New Zealand typically offer loan terms of up to 25 years, but some will offer longer.

Fixed- or variable-rate?

Lenders in Australia and New Zealand offer different types of mortgage repayment options on either a fixed or a variable interest rate.

Documents

Australians and New Zealanders will both require a range of supporting documentation in order to process a mortgage application. These documents can include, among other things:

  • Copy of passport
  • Proof of address (copy of recent utility bill)
  • Credit report
  • Recent bank statements
  • Recent pay slips
  • Latest personal tax return

Insurance

It is often advised that those securing a mortgage in Australia or New Zealand also look about taking out home and life insurance.

Warning

Your property in Australia or New Zealand could be at risk if you do not keep up repayments on a mortgage secured on it. Be sure you understand the repayments and can afford them before entering into any credit agreement.

 

Retirement in Australia and New Zealand

 

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