Moving to Australia from New Zealand?

Get all information you need to make a successful and stress-free move across the ditch.

Are you a New Zealander wanting to buy a house in Australia?

Yes, you can! If you’re an NZ citizen buying property in Australia everything works the same as if you were an Australian citizen buying property in Australia. You may even be eligible for the first homeowner’s grant.

However, if you are not an NZ citizen there are some restrictions for foreigners wanting to buy property in Australia, depending on your visa and residence status.

Find below some advice on how you can buy your dream home in Australia and some smart tips to avoid paying more than you need to in fees and charges.

KiwiSaver and First Home Super Saver (FHSS)

Use your KiwiSaver towards your home deposit for your first Australian home! First Super and First Home Super Saver (FHSS) – lets you withdraw some of your KiwiSaver for the deposit for your Australian first home. Read more here.

In this post you will find helpful information on:

Can foreigners buy property in Australia?

Yes, you can as an NZ citizen.

As an NZ citizen living in Australia, you are treated as an Australian citizen when it comes to buying a home in Australia. You can get a mortgage at the same rate, you are eligible for the First Home Owners Grant (FHOG) and possible stamp duty waiver.

There are some restrictions if you are a non-resident, e.g. an NZ citizen not already living in Australia (haven’t processed through border control and received your SCV). Non-residents have to get approval from the Foreign Investment Review Board (FIRB) before they can buy a property. The house must be for yourself as a home and be your primary residence. This does not apply to NZ citizens, living in Australia.

If you don’t intend to live there full time, or if you’re buying several properties in Australia as an investment, they must be new-build properties. These laws are designed to ensure that there is a sufficient supply of new housing stock across the country.


Buying property in Australia from New Zealand

Do you want to purchase a home in Australia from New Zealand, so it’s ready for you to move into when you arrive? Yes, you can but you will need some help… 

The process of buying a property in Australia from NZ

While I wasn’t able to find the process online, UNO home loans explained to buy property in Australia, engaging mortgage and conveyancing services was fundamental.

When buying property, the sale-to-settlement process can quickly become complicated and overwhelming. Conveyancers save you time and money, taking care of important legal documents such as contracts and site visits so you can quickly and easily move into your new home.

There are different ways to go about this, but this is one way. Before you approach the below companies make sure you’ve done your research into what type of home you want and how much it will cost.

The process to buy property in Australia from NZ:

  1. Get your team organised – you are going to need a conveyancer or lawyer, insurer and mortgage broker or bank.
  2. Get pre-approved for an ex-pat loan – it’s important to confirm your finances and get pre-approval before you get serious about a property.
  3. Find the home you want to buy – you’re going to have to rely on online research.
  4. Get a property inspection done – since you aren’t able to visit the property yourself, you need someone else to inspect and research it thoroughly so you can make informed decisions.
  5. Negotiate the best purchase price for the method of the sale being used – the home might be going to auction or tender, but a conveyancer can approach the real estate agent on behalf and negotiate directly with them.
  6. Check over the sale and purchase agreement – you can use a conveyancer or lawyer to do this. Make sure you know exactly what you are agreeing to.
  7. Sign the agreement from NZ and plan for settlement day – organise a pre-settlement inspection and make sure your finances and insurance are in order.

We recommend the below companies. They have excellent independent reviews, so you can trust their team, charges and processes. 

Get an ex-pat mortgage

If you want to buy a home in Australia while still living in New Zealand you will need to get an expat mortgage. This is one of the harder home loans to get.

Getting a home loan depends on a bunch of factors, including your household income, country of residence, deposit amount and if your circumstances fit into different bank policies. All banks in Australia have different policies and calculations they use to evaluate a loan application.

This is where UNO comes in! What UNO does for you is look at your individual circumstances and work out which banks would most likely give you a loan, then approach them for you.

UNO proactively look after customers’ largest household expense, their mortgage and or /home loan. Using loan score technology, UNO analyses your mortgage to save you time and money wherever possible. As experienced brokers, their job is to negotiate the mortgage best deal on your behalf.

UNO prides itself on matching customers to the right home loans across their growing panel of 20 lenders whether you are purchasing a property or refinancing. Plus, they’re specialists in helping New Zealand citizens to buy Australian property whether based locally or in Australia so they’re familiar with the process and how they can best serve your needs.

Find out if you’re eligible for an Australia ex-pat mortgage

Do you want to know if you’re eligible to buy a property in Australia from NZ? Do you want to move straight into your own home in Australia?

Simply complete this 2 min questionnaire and find out. No obligation and you can complete it as many times as you like and learn along the way…

Or read my Australian mortgage post and find out more about UNO and how they can help you. 

Hire a conveyancer

Conveyancers take the complicated out of the property so you can save time and money where it matters most.

From contract reviews through to order searches and title transferral, conveyancers take care of the complicated side of buying and selling so you can buy with confidence and peace of mind. Whether you are buying property in Australia from NZ or while living there.

While conveyancers can help you with an array of services, here are some of the most common:

  • Improve the contract – before you sign the contract for your new home place, it’s good to engage a conveyancer to review the contract on your behalf. Conveyancers will identify any hidden clauses or issues that might cause you problems in the future while adding any important amendments to your contract. Conveyancers will also arrange for your contract to be signed and finalised so you can navigate the sale to the settlement process in a quick and uncomplicated way.
  • Get the best deal – as experienced legal professionals with extensive industry knowledge about property law, conveyancers will help to negotiate the best possible settlement for you. They will also explain crucial details and information about your home that you might have otherwise overlooked so you can make an educated and informed purchase.
  • Don’t get stuck with debt – one of the biggest risks with buying property is the fact that potential for debt associated with a property to be transferred to you as the new owner. Conveyancers will make sure there is no outstanding debt so you can settle without any hidden costs incurred later down the track.
  • Get an expert opinion – Buying a property might be the largest financial and emotional investment of your life which is why it’s a great idea to engage in a building and pest inspection before settlement. 

From moisture contamination to construction issues and termites, a building and pest report offers you a professional, expert opinion on your property so you can buy with peace of mind. Saving you money and time later down the track, undertaking a building and pest inspection ensures you’re making an informed and educated purchase.

The above companies will make buying a home in Australia from NZ a reality!


Home Price Guide

When you are buying a home it’s important to do your research. In terms of getting comprehensive comparative sales information, it’s hard to go past the Home Price Guide, available from Australian Property Monitors (APM), a joint venture between HWW Limited, the publishers of Your Mortgage Magazine, and John Fairfax & Sons.

The Home Price Guide list sales details of individual residential properties. Each standard guide lists monitored sales in the previous 12 months in the postcode of your choice. If the property you are purchasing is in the database, you can see how much the current owners paid for it, whether it has been put to auction since it was purchased, and in some cases what the highest bid at an auction was. 

What deposit will I have to pay?

Your deposit amount will vary depending on if you are living in NZ or Australia. If you are living in NZ your deposit will be approx 30%. If you have moved over and are living in Australia you should be able to buy a property with only a 5% deposit. If you are living elsewhere it’s pretty difficult to buy a property in Australia as it’s considered non-resident lending.

Banks in Australia can’t lend on property in New Zealand, so if you have an existing property in NZ you want to leverage off, you’re going to have to talk to your NZ bank or a mortgage broker in NZ. Read more below.

Do New Zealanders have to pay a higher interest rate?

No. If you are a New Zealand citizen living in NZ or Australia your interest rates will be the same as the open market, e.g. the same as if you were an Australian citizen. 

First Home Owners Grant (FHOG)

The First Home Owners Grant (FHOG) in Australia is designed to encourage and assist home ownership across the country, and for eligible borrowers, it’s a great start to life as a property owner.

The grant differs in each state and territory and in most places it applies to new homes only and is valued between $7,000-$26,000.

The Australian government’s First Home Owners Grant (FHOG) and other benefits are available to permanent residents as if they are citizens of Australia. Because NZ citizens are considered to be permanent residents of Australia they are eligible for the grant.

FHOG does not take into consideration NZ property, only property you’ve owned in Australia.

Read more in my Are New Zealand citizens eligible for Australia’s First Home Owners Grant? post.


Getting a mortgage in Australia

Getting a mortgage in Australia is pretty similar to New Zealand. You will need to figure out how much you can borrow based on your income and expenses. You will need a deposit, which is usually a minimum of 5 per cent of the value of the property. You also need to pay for stamp duty on the property, which will cost several thousands of dollars, depending on which state you live in.

UNO’s quick home loan questionnaire

Want to know if you are likely to get a loan right now? The below questionnaire will ask you a few questions to establish your next best move towards buying property in Australia as a New Zealand citizen

You will be asked about your residence status, where you currently live, what your plans are, how much you plan on spending on your new home, your deposit amount, and your income, help calculate your loan-to-income ratio (LIR) and point you in the right direction.

You can complete this questionnaire in less than 2 minutes, with no obligation and as many times as you like…

Or read my Australian mortgage post and find out more about UNO and how they can help you.

Financial institutions in Australia will usually check your credit rating in New Zealand. If you are not sure where you stand, you can get a free copy of your credit file from Equifax:

What documents do you need to apply for a loan?

In order to get your application processed in the quickest time frame possible, it is important to have all your paperwork ready. You’ll need:

  • Bank statement
  • Payslips
  • Meet identification requirements

Read more about identity checks and what identity requirements you will need to meet:


Accessing the equity of your property in NZ

If you own a property in NZ and want to leverage off that. You need to get your NZ bank to release the equity in your NZ property (refinance your mortgage) so it can then be used as a deposit for your property in Australia.

Australian banks are unable to lend off New Zealand property. Even though we have similar banks in both countries, their systems are completely different and they don’t talk to each other. So you are going to have to apply for a loan in NZ and a loan in Australia to be able to leverage the equity.

Can I use my NZ KiwiSaver to buy a house in Australia?

Yes, you can! There is quite a history with this, but once again New Zealanders moving to Australia are able to transfer their KiwiSaver to Australia and use some of it as a deposit for their first home. You must meet the criteria set out by the ATO and make sure you set up the right account with the right super fund provider.

The ATO says ‘If you transfer an amount into an Australian super fund from a KiwiSaver scheme, the amount will be an eligible contribution (except for certain amounts)’.  There is no requirement for you to be an Australian citizen, Australian resident or an Australian resident for taxation purposes for the FHSS.

Find out what the ‘certain amounts’ are, what super fund provider you need to register with, what you need to know about the First Home Super Saver (FHSS), the KiwiSaver to super fund transfer process and how to withdraw $15,000 to use as your first home deposit in Australia (up to $50,000) in my KiwiSaver and First Home Super Saver (FHSS) post. 

Stamp Duty

Stamp duty is a tax on a property transaction that is charged by each state and territory and goes straight to the state government. The amounts can and do vary. The stamp duty rate will depend on factors such as the value of the property if it is your primary residence and your residency status.

You can calculate the stamp duty you may have to pay on your property using this stamp Duty Calculator:

Stamp Duty Waiver

First homeowners, purchasing for the first time in Australia will more than likely be eligible for a stamp duty waiver. However, it will take into account if you own or have owned any property anywhere including New Zealand. So if you do own, or have owned a property previously, then you won’t be eligible for the stamp duty waiver.

There are different purchase amounts that need to be adhered to depending on the state you are buying in, e.g. in Queensland if you purchase a home for $500,000 or less you will pay no stamp duty. If you are purchasing a property between $500,000 and $550,000 you get a discount.

Stamp duty varies from state to state. You can read more about the stamp duty in the state you are planning to move to and its exemptions and concessions here:

Capital Gains Tax (CGT)

If you own an asset overseas, you may have to pay Australian tax when you sell the asset. You need to keep appropriate records.

If you acquired an overseas asset before you became an Australian resident, you are taken to have acquired the asset at the time you became a resident.

Similarly, if you stop being an Australian resident while holding an overseas asset, you are deemed to have disposed of that asset at the time you stop being a resident.

To accurately calculate the capital gain or loss, ensure you keep a record of the value of your asset at these times. This is a complex area of tax law and exemptions may apply.

Therefore, if you plan on renting your home while you settle in Australia, you will have to pay CGT when you sell it. If you sold it before you left you wouldn’t.

However, your accountant can make you a temporary resident for tax purposes, which would make you exempt from tax on your overseas income. Read more here:

Calculating your CGT

If you sold assets during the year, such as property or shares, you need to work out your capital gain or loss for each asset. You pay tax on your net capital gains.

You can use the CGT calculator on the Australia Government ATO website. 

Transferring your money to Australia

Find out how to get the best foreign exchange rate and save on fees.

If you already own a home in New Zealand and are planning on selling it and buying in Australia, then educating yourself on foreign exchange is a must. The same goes if you are transferring any money from NZ to Australia. Why throw away your hard-earned cash?

To give you an idea of how much you could save, XE has done a recent comparison with three New Zealand major banks for a $1,200,000 NZD / AUD transfer. Depending on which bank you use, XE would have saved you between $9,070 and $25,870.


**This comparison was made on 21.08.17, by speaking to the foreign exchange teams at 3 of the leading banks.

You will save a lot of money by using an online foreign exchange company to exchange your NZ Dollars for Australian Dollars, and then deposit them in your Australian bank account. Banks will charge you a great deal to convert and transfer your money.

Find out more about using an online foreign exchange company and how online money transfer works.


Where to search for your new home

Of course, you can start looking for your new home from NZ. The below websites are the top real estate sites in Australia:

You might also be interested in…

The below posts might interest you:

Still, got unanswered questions?

If you’ve read the above content and the answer to your question isn’t there, please write a comment below and I’ll research the answer for you. Please note, if the answer to your question is in the content above, I will not reply. Sorry, I just get too many questions these days and I can’t keep up.

Can I help you find something else?

If you need advice on moving to Australia from New Zealand, I’ve created a helpful little questionnaire to point you in the right direction. It takes less than 30 seconds, so give it a go!


  1. Andy

    November 20, 2023 at 7:31 am

    Hi JJ Smith,
    I looked on the Victoria government website and they said only Au citizens and Au PR are eligible for FOCG, we will relocate to Melbourne in Jan 2024 and wanna check how you can get grant FOCG, like do we need to apply for it before buying a house or when we buy or build a house, the mortgage broker can help us? If we apply FOCG, does it take long?

    • JJ Smith

      November 20, 2023 at 7:02 pm

      Hi Andy,
      I know a lot of New Zealanders on SCV’s who have got the FHOG.
      New Zealanders holding a special category visa under s32 of the Migration Act 1958 and anyone holding a permanent visa under s30(1), are considered to be a permanent resident of Australia. To be eligible, NZ citizens must be in Australia at the time of settlement. Source:
      UNO would be able to help you, as they have researched all property ownership criteria for New Zealanders living in Australia on an SCV.
      In the majority of cases, your mortgage broker or bank that is providing your finance will lodge the FHOG application form on your behalf.
      Here the link to the State Revenue Office Victoria website, which helps you check your eligibility, outlines everything you will need and how to apply:
      Hope the above helps.

  2. Sar

    October 10, 2023 at 11:43 am

    Hi JJ, this site is amazing – thank you for doing all of this! I’m already living in Melbourne with my Husband and two Daughters, originally from Christchurch. My parents are moving to Victoria in March and are asking me all sorts of questions so i’ve directed them to this site, which is so helpful! The only question I can’t seem to answer for my Dad is about whether they can purchase a home in Victoria straight away once they have moved here, say in the first few weeks (once all they finance etc. is sorted) is there a certain amount of time they have to be living in Victoria before they can purchase a home? I can’t seem to find anything VIC..
    Thank you 🙂

    • JJ Smith

      October 10, 2023 at 3:17 pm

      Hi Sar,
      Thank you for your comment.
      Your parents can buy a home in Melbourne as soon as they have processed through border control and obtained an SCV. Until they have an SCV they are a foreign investor.
      I’m glad my website has been able to answer a lot of your parents questions. Please let me know if there is anything else you can’t find the answer to.
      I highly recommend they transfer their money through XE rather than the banks, as it will save them a lot on fees and get them a more favorable exchange rate. They can also talk to someone at XE if they have any concerns, after they have registered.
      Happy house hunting.

  3. Curtis

    September 17, 2023 at 7:36 pm

    Hi JJ,
    Firstly this website is great and extremely helpful!
    My partner and I (Both NZ Citizens residing in Aus since mid-last year) are looking at buying a property in WA, and we have stumbled across the government grant available for first-home buyers.
    The eligibility all makes sense to us, except for the 12 months of residence in the house.
    The property we are looking at is just a section, and we have no means of building right away – does the grant still apply since we won’t be living on it, but also won’t be renting it out?
    We have not owned any property in Australia, just NZ

  4. Archana

    September 7, 2023 at 12:28 pm

    Hi JJ, can you recommend a few conveyancer companies?

    • JJ Smith

      September 14, 2023 at 1:15 pm

      Hi Archana,
      Thank you for your comment.
      Unfortunately, I don’t have any personal experience with Australia conveyancers, so I recommend going off online reviews:
      Hope the above helps.

    • Rohit Gupta

      October 25, 2023 at 12:47 am

      I have hired Sharney Rowe at bytherules conveyancing. Things are going well. I asked for a fixed price. She is responsive and thorough.


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