Rent vs. Buy: Should I rent or buy my first home in Australia?

We’ve written an extensive guide on renting or buying a house in Australia.

Housing in Australia can often be quite expensive. Still, many different kinds of accommodation are available, ranging from single-family houses to apartments, units, and even more if you need something more significant than an apartment.

Before you decide where to live and sign a long-term lease, it is best to first look at short-term rentals. This way, you can see if there are any neighborhoods you’d enjoy living in.

Buying a property in Australia may be challenging for foreigners. Therefore, you should jump through some extra hurdles before purchasing a property there. In addition, conditions may limit your choices.

Renting a House or Apartment

To have an idea of how to go about finding rental properties in Australia, you need to be familiar with the 100-point check. It is a personal identification method used by the Australian government and adopted by many property owners before renting their homes to tenants.

Different pieces of identification that an applicant can provide (like a driver’s license, a passport, a previous tenancy contract, a utility bill, etc.) are worth different “points” depending on their value. For example, a driver’s license is worth 10 points, whereas a utility bill is worth 5 points.

How Much is Rent in Australia?

After the first quarter of 2019, the average rent in Australia is 437 Australian dollars ($303) per month. The minimum house rent for Perth, the most affordable capital city in Australia, is 386 Australian dollars ($270). The following table shows the average monthly rents in each significant town in Australia.

Sydney $580 AUD; Canberra $560 AUD; Melbourne $455 AUD; Brisbane $440 AUD; Perth $385 AUD; Adelaide $390 AUD; Hobart $450 AUD; Darwin $460 AUD;

As a foreigner renting an apartment in Australia

As an expatriate living in Australia, renting property there may be more accessible. Moreover, there are things you need to know before you begin looking at properties.


Rental Process and Rules

Step 1—Learn the Terminology

If you’re moving abroad, you should attempt to understand the local language. For example, “apartment” refers to a flat in Australia, whereas “flat” means a small house with one room. A studio apartment is called a “studio,” and a larger apartment with multiple rooms is referred to as a “one bedroom.”

Step 2—Choose Your Location

When you arrive in Australia, spend some time exploring different neighborhoods. Some areas might be cheaper than others, so it is worth checking out your options when you get there.

Step 3—Start Your Search

If you want to rent a property or have your own house, you can look for properties online, through newspaper ads, or by contacting realtors. However, realtors may be less helpful in Australia, so if you need professional assistance, it is better to hire an experienced destination services company to help you with your rental search.

Step 4—Set Up a Viewing

Once you’ve found a place you’re interested in, you must contact the owner directly. You’ll likely find they have a website where you can send them your resume and ask questions about the property. They might also offer you a tour of the house to see what it’s like inside.

Agents require you to view the place in advance if you want to rent a house in Australia. In addition, they usually hold open houses where several people can visit the site. So be sure to arrive prepared with all your documents and applications ready to go.

Step 5—Fill out your rental application.

Documents required when renting an apartment can vary depending on the landlord and agency. For example, some landlords may require proof of income, references, and sometimes even a credit check.

  • proof of identity (must satisfy 100-point check);
  • Proof of Income/Bank Statements for the Last Three Months
  • References (if you don’t have a previous landlord or if they’re overseas), an employment reference;
  • employment details;
  • prior rental agreements, and
  • Down Payment (will be refunded to you if you don’t get the house).

Step 5—Rental Contract and Deposit

There is no set of rules you should follow for how much rent landlords require in advance to lease out their properties. However, they may ask for a security bond, usually equal to four to six weeks’ worth of rent.

The bond is to ensure that the tenant pays his rent on time and does not cause any damage to the premises. Therefore, it is essential to check the condition of the premises before signing the contract. For example, a furnished flat may include important furniture items such as a washing machine, fridge, microwave oven, and television set. However, an itemized list must be provided if the rental is a furnished flat. At the end of the lease period, any missing items can be deducted from the bond. In some countries, the bondholder is an independent government agency.

A standard, long-term Australian rental agreement will typically last between 6 – 12 months. Before signing any rental contract, make sure you read through it carefully. You and the owner/landlady should sign it, and each party should retain a signed version. A rental agreement must contain specific information about the property, including the number of bedrooms and bathrooms, parking spaces, heating system, etc.

  • Name, contact details, telephone number, and registration number, if applicable;
  • landlord’s first and last names, their physical street addresses, and their phone numbers;
  • Name of all the parties involved in the contract;
  • address of the rental;
  • Rent amount plus payment terms.
  • bond amount;
  • leasing period;
  • who pays for water supply and use;
  • list of all domestic appliances;
  • additional terms such as “pet clause” and “additional terms.”
  • date and signature of all parties.

If any additional condition or clause is added, it must comply with the Residential Tenancies Act (RTA) 1995.

Who owns the property? And who is responsible for paying the rent?

The tenant pays rent; the landlord takes care of utilities (unless specified otherwise). In addition, the landlord is responsible for maintaining the house throughout the tenancy period.

You’re responsible for making sure the apartment is kept clean and safe. If there are any issues with the building, you can contact the landlord and ask them to fix them. However, keep the cost of repairing the problem from your rent.

You’re still responsible for paying the monthly rental fee until the end of the term, but if you want to leave earlier than the end of the lease, you might be able to find someone else who wants to pay the remainder of the lease and then repays your deposit. But, again, check with your agent/landlady about this.

If you’re not violating any laws or contracts, you cannot be evicted from your apartment. Landlords cannot evict you by removing anything from your apartment, locking you out, or turning off utilities.


Short-Term Rentals

When you first arrive in Australia, consider staying at a hotel or other type of temporary rental until you find something more permanent. It’s usually easier to book a short stay than an extended one, so you will only need many documents.

Here are some things to know about short-term rentals.

There are plenty of apartment rental sites that allow you to book monthly furnished rentals. However, if you’re looking for an apartment that meets your specific housing requirements, check out

Average Price of Short-Term Rentals

  • Sydney—AUD 213 (149 USD).
  • Melbourne — 144 AUD (101 USD) for one night

Buying Property as a Foreigner

If you’re considering buying a home in Australia, know that you can’t just go out and buy one. You’ll need to find a place built and ready to live in. That means finding a new home that still needs to be sold. And if you find such a place, you’ll need to ensure it meets specific requirements before moving in.

Keep in mind that Australia does not offer any citizenship by investment scheme. You cannot purchase property in Australia and obtain Australian citizenship. Buying A HOUSE IN AUSTRALIA FOR PERMANENT RESIDENCE IS NOT POSSIBLE!

Buying a house in Australia guide

If you’re a foreigner who wants to live in Australia, you can purchase a new dwelling, vacant lot, or residential property. Here’s an outline of the process and steps involved.

Step 1 – Get a Tax File Number (TIN)

If you’re interested in buying property in Australia, you need to learn about applying for an Australian Tax File Number (TFN). We’ve got some helpful info on that in our Working section.

Step 2 – Hire Professionals

If you need professional advice, consider hiring a lawyer, a real estate expert, an accountancy firm, or a buyers’ agency. In addition, interactions can connect you with people who speak your language.

Step 3: Get pre-approved for your loan.

Before starting any property investment journey, you need to determine how much you can invest and what you can afford. Your borrowing capacity will vary depending on which visa you have.

  • Most temporary visas allow their holders to get mortgages if they’re allowed to work in the country for at least one year.
  • Ninety percent of the property value—applies to visa holders with a high salary, stable employment, and long-term visas.
  • If you’re married to an Australian citizen or permanent resident, you’ll qualify for up to $95,000 if you live in Australia. You’ll also be eligible for this amount if you live in New Zealand.

Step 4 – Applying for a mortgage.

To get a mortgage in Australia, ensure that you’re living there. You should also use the services of a professional mortgage broker with experience dealing with expatriates. To obtain a mortgage, you will need

  • copies of your identification;
  • Proof that you meet the requirements for buying a house under the Foreign Review Board;
  • proof of legal residence in the country;
  • You need to provide evidence that you’re financially responsible.
  • You need to provide evidence that you can afford the mortgage payments.

Step 5 – Find Your Dream Home

Find a property that fits your budget and agrees upon a sales contract with the owner. Your conveyancer will be able to assist you with all the legal matters involved in the transaction. Once the deal has been agreed upon, you must pay a deposit to secure the property.

Step 6 – Obtaining approval from the foreign review board.

You need to ask permission from this board before buying a house here. If you’re visiting, you can buy a temporary residence, but you cannot own a permanent home unless you’ve lived here for at least six years.

You must fill out an online form to get permission to live here. It’s required if you’re not from the country where you want to live.

  • new dwellings;
  • Establishing homes for people to live in;
  • properties for redevelopment;
  • off-the-grid properties
  • Vacant residential land.

You need to pay a fee to apply for a mortgage. The price depends on the value of the house. If the house has less than one million Australian Dollars ($697,500), then the fee is $10,000. If the house has more than one million Australian Dollars, the price is $20,000.

Step 7 – Complete the Sale

After the board has accepted you, you can proceed with your purchase. Again, congratulations! You’re now the proud new homeowner of an Australian property!


Types of Property

Apartments—These are often referred to as “flats” s Down Under, which range between studios or “studios’ to bedrooms, even four or five-bedroom apartments. This is a good choice for expatriates who cannot buy an entire home or single home, only need limited space, and want access to nearby facilities.

Apartment—This word describes large apartments separate from each other but located within buildings. These units are often found in resorts or commercialized areas.

Australian English uses “single-family” to mean “detached,” “outside of the cities,” “in the country,” or “rural.”

Two-story duplexes—These houses are next to each other, separated by a standard fence.

The advantages of renting.

Helps you save money.

By choosing to rent rather than buy a home, you can avoid using up your savings on a down payment and other closing costs. Money that could be used elsewhere or invested is now available to you. If you support the money differently than if you were buying a house, you might see a higher return on your money. Your investment objectives and plan need to be carefully considered.

It’s also possible that you still need to be ready to devote all of your savings and monthly income to a down payment and a mortgage because of where you are in your life. The call of study or travel?

You have more flexibility as a result.

You have more freedom when you rent. Once your lease is up, you can move from one home and neighborhood to another as a tenant. However, you have less freedom to choose where to move because of the high costs of buying and selling.

Lets you diversify your investment portfolio.

Your entire savings will likely go toward purchasing one asset when you buy a home, especially if it’s your first home. However, renting allows you to spread your savings among various investments, so consider whether you feel comfortable with having the majority, if not all, of your savings tied up in a single asset. Spreading out any potential risk is another benefit of diversifying your investments.

The disadvantages of renting.

Renting might be more costly.

If the past is any indication, inflation, and rising real estate prices will cause the cost of renting to increase over time. Depending on where you live, your mortgage payments may start more expensive than the price of renting, but throughout the loan, the interest charged drops as the principal is paid off.

Most homeowners pay off their mortgages in less than 30 years. Therefore, they won’t need to make significant monthly payments to live in their home, even though they will still incur costs for home upkeep and council fees. However, you will always have to make rent if you choose the life of the tenancy. It might be challenging to come up with a sizable monthly sum once you retire and your income decreases. Rent increases might also be more challenging for you to handle.

No compulsion to save.

Like forced savings, a mortgage, you must pay your mortgage each month, contributing funds to a possession that will probably appreciate over time. The temptation to spend extra money when renting can be strong, making saving or investing difficult.