A Papua New Guinean has been identified as one of eight foreigners who have bought Queensland properties illegally according to an article published by the Australian property website Domain. The other purchasers are from China, Taiwan, United States and Singapore.
The Papua New Guinean bought the property in Annandale (Townsville) for a sum of $489,395.
A total of 7 transactions to the value of $5.9 million were identified by the Australian Tax Office to have been sold illegally and these homes will now be sold.
Legislation governing property purchases by foreigners have been tightened and those buying after 1 December 2015 face the following penalties:
- Fines of up to $135,000 or three years’ imprisonment, or both for individuals;
- Fines of up to $675,000 for companies;
- Capital gains made on illegal investments being forfeited.
The report indicated that the transactions were illegal because foreign investors either purchased established residential property without Foreign Investment Review Board approval, or had approval but their circumstances changed meaning they were breaking the rules.
Foreigners buying residential real estate in Australia must purchase new dwellings or land of which new dwellings must erected within a given period. All real estate transactions by foreigners require prior approval by the Foreign Investment Review Board.
In recent times, there has been a surge in marketing Australian real estate in Port Moresby. Some of these properties have been listed in Papua New Guinea’s real estate website www.hausples.com.pg.
While there is nothing wrong with the listing of these properties, potential buyers must seriously consider the legal requirements in Australia.