Australia orders sale of houses owned by Chinese nationals due to breaches of ownership rules

More homes forced to be sold after Australian government declares they were purchased illegally; 800 more properties are under investigation in crackdown

PUBLISHED : Monday, 18 January, 2016, 2:31pm
UPDATED : Monday, 18 January, 2016, 2:44pm

The Australian government says it has ordered the sale of another eight residential properties bought in breach of foreign ownership laws, in a response to concerns that offshore buyers were driving up house prices.

Homes in Australian state capitals are considered among the most overpriced in the world, and the federal government has announced penalties for foreigners who breach existing rules that restrict them to buying new homes only.

Treasurer Scott Morrison said on Monday the forced sale of eight properties took to 27 the number of homes the government has declared were bought illegally by foreigners, mostly Chinese nationals.

Since the foreign ownership crackdown began last year, the government said it had investigated more than 1,300 property sales and had another 800 under investigation. Severe penalties apply to buyers who have breached the rules.

The latest set of forced sales amounts to more than A$8 million (HK$43 million) and includes a A$5.1 million house in the state of Victoria. The estates were bought illegally by nationals from Canada, China, India, Malaysia and the United States, the government said.

Australia’s conservative government has been cracking down on foreign property sales to improve affordability.