Obtaining a Mortgage in Sydney

 

There are many lenders including banks, credit unions and non-bank lenders operating in the Australian property market and offering finance to purchase Australian property.

Of these lenders, they will have many different loan products with their own features and benefits, some of which are more appropriate to different objectives. Navigating the finance and product options is time consuming trying to work out what is best for you.

Alycia and the team at Stoneturn Mortgages have written a guide to assist with the complexities of choosing the best option including:

  • Understanding the Finance Process
  • Pre-qualification and Credit Advice
  • Pre-Approval
  • Valuations
  • Post Settlement

To read this guide click here:

Expatland Giving Back Event – Exodus

On December 19, Expatland Giving Back joined the Exodus Foundation in helping out their community.

It’s an opportunity dedicated to contributing to the foundation’s mission of helping the community’s less fortunate and spreading joy this holiday season.

It was a great day and the team is grateful for the chance to give back through their own way, making this event truly memorable.

 

 

Looking into Buying Trends in 2019

Australia is experiencing a dip in consumer confidence at the moment.

As we can see, we are still above the historical average. But what does this mean for the Sydney property market?

Retail credit is still hard to come by (except for Expatland service providers) but is the rest of the Sydney population thinking its credit crunch 2.0? 2008 was a decade ago now and many are saying that we may dip again below the trending average in 2019. The Sydney property market is watching 2019 through a lens of skepticism.

The political sphere is driving this down with a March state election where the Premier is not handling her team well while no-one knows the name of the opposition leader. What’s going to happen? I know that treasury is screaming from the reduced forecast of stamp duty revenue.

What are they to do?

Federally we have a new PM that wants to reduce population growth and an opposition leader that wants to run on the premise of getting rid of negative-gearing? Do any of our leaders really want to foster a growth environment again?

What I do know is this? Buy low. Sell high.

The increased interest in doing deals in Sydney right now on both residential and commercial property is rife. We are negotiating on several investment properties for our clients in which the developer needs to sell remaining product or product with settlement risk with a 5-15% discount. Additionally, our clients are capitalising on buying established home’s for repatriation due to the pressure on some homeowners to sell.

One Sydney expat client from Hong Kong called to get some advice as she was not scheduled to come back to Sydney for another few years but wanted to take advantage of the current market and find her home for retirement. Over the New Year period, three private inspections will happen via Skype.

So don’t let the consumer sentiment get you down, take advantage of the counter market cycle and use the Christmas and New Year periods to reflect and plan for the next year or years ahead.

 

Temporary Residents – Australia’s Tax Concessions for Expats

A range of income tax concessions are available to individuals who become resident of Australia and who qualify as temporary resident.

Many have the impression that Australia is a very high taxing country with very few tax concessions.

While that may be true in many cases, Australia also has very generous tax concessions in relation to temporary residents.

Australia, being a worldwide tax regime, taxes its residents on their worldwide income.

This means that if you move to Australia any foreign investment income your have will be taxable here.

Can you be a “temporary resident”?

If you are the holder of a “temporary resident” visa, and provided your spouse is also not an Australian citizen or permanent resident then you will qualify as a temporary resident and you can take advantage of these generous concessions.

This would mean that you would not be required to pay tax on your foreign investment income in Australia, even if you bring that income in Australia.

It is also the case that you would only be subject to capital gains tax in Australia on a very narrow range of assets, which would typically only include Australian real estate investments.

Foreign sourced capital gains would not be taxable in Australia.

This makes Australia a very compelling jurisdiction for foreign nationals to move to on a temporary basis without having to worry about all the complexity associated with bringing foreign investment “on shore”.

However, if you move to Australia and then decide to become permanent resident or if your spouse becomes an Australian citizen then you would cease being a temporary resident for tax purposes.

Note that the definition of “spouse” includes a person who you are legally married to or who you live with on a genuine domestic basis as a couple.

If you have questions about your eligibility to this very important tax concession, please reach out to CST Tax in Sydney and we would be happy to advise you further.

Expatland Relocation – Ensuring Your Move Is a Success

 

Australia is a popular choice of destination for many expatriate families and even though it has language, cultural and lifestyle similarities to many other countries, moving to Australia is not without its challenges.

Moving home anywhere is widely known to be one of the most stressful experiences in life and so it is particularly important when moving across international borders to get professional assistance from a specialist International Moving company and/or Relocation Service Provider.  Australia is no exception.

Our E-Team member Nuss Relocations are experts in relocation services and has written a guide on helping you ensure your move is a successful one. This guide is a must read to help you alleviate the stress and complexity of your move.

To download the guide click here

Expatland Finance – Being Prepared in Your New City

 

The cost of living is of major importance to you and your family in looking at whether you will be better off in Expatland. The cost of living in different parts of Expatland varies widely and is affected by many factors beyond your control.

Just one of these, for example, is, say, the effect of tax rises in Expatland.

Those countries in Expatland that may have higher national debt as a percentage of GDP might seek to raise taxes shortly after your arrival. This tax rise – whether indirect or direct – may affect your cost of living in a very short period of time.

It is therefore important for you to prepare a budget. Our E-Team members, XE have written a guide on ensuring you are well equipped to deal with your move financially. It is an essential read and will assist any expat with moving to their new home.

To download our guide please click here:

Utilising Your Australian Super to Fund Life Insurance – Considerations for Australian Expats

 

We see many Australians living overseas unaware that they can use their super to fund their cash flow and asset protection. Buying Life Insurance through super can be a convenient and affordable way to get the cover you need.

Further, Australian life products are often more affordable compared to the local options and the definitions are world leading.

There are, however, a number of things you need to consider before you decide how you want to structure your Life Insurance.

What type of insurance can you access through super?

Through super, you have access to three important types of insurance cover:

  1. Income Protection which provides an income stream for a specified period if you can’t work due to temporary disability or illness.
  2. Total and Permanent Disability (TPD) which provides a lump sum benefit if you become seriously disabled and are unable to ever work again.
  3. Life Insurance provides your beneficiaries with a lump sum benefit if you die.

What are the advantages of taking out Life Insurance through super?

Using your superannuation to pay for your Life Insurance can be a good way to help you afford the cover you need, without eating into your budget.

You also have the opportunity to make before-tax contributions to super to pay for your insurance (e.g. through salary sacrifice), which may help reduce the amount of tax you pay.

What are the disadvantages of taking out Life Insurance through super?

If you don’t make additional super contributions to pay your insurance premiums, your retirement savings will reduce. Also, there are different rules around Life Insurance policies owned through super that may make benefit payments less tax-effective for your beneficiaries.

What else should expats consider?

Buying insurance through super may seem like the perfect solution, but there are some things you should consider first:

Keep track of your insurances through super
If you have more than one super fund you may be paying for more than one policy.

Not all benefits are tax-free
Tax may be payable on some benefits, depending on who receives the benefit and when it is paid out. If your beneficiary is not a dependant, there may be tax implications.

There can be delays in benefit payment
Insurers will pay the benefit to your fund’s Trustee, who will then distribute onto you or your beneficiaries.

Consider your beneficiaries

If you do not make a binding beneficiary nomination, or your fund does not offer binding nominations, the super trustee will decide who receives your benefits when you die. Usually, benefits are paid to dependents, after taking your wishes into consideration.

Using your super to fund your life insurance is a perfectly viable strategy but being aware of the various considerations is critical. Seeking advice from an Australian Life insurance Specialist key.

 

Written by: IMFG

Surcharge Purchaser Duty for Foreigners in NSW

 

The 2016 NSW Budget introduced a four per cent surcharge purchaser duty (surcharge) on the purchase of residential real estate by foreign persons from 21 June 2016. Further to this, the 2017 NSW Budget, increased the surcharge rate from four per cent to eight per cent for agreements entered into on or after 1 July 2017.

The surcharge is in addition to the duty payable on the purchase of residential property. The surcharge does not apply to Permanent visa holders, New Zealand citizens who hold a special category visa (subclass 444) or Partner (provisional) visa holders (subclass 309 or 820).

However, it does apply to persons who are, the three types of individuals listed above, who do not meet the 200 day rule (200 days or more in Australia immediately prior to the contract date) or temporary visa holders, who are persons who hold Australian temporary visas which are subject to limitation, such as an end date, and are considered to be foreign persons, regardless of whether they meet the 200 day rule. Unfortunately, this cannot be overcome by the incorporation of a company or establishment of a trust.

A corporation and a trustee of a trust can be a foreign person in the following circumstances:

  • a corporation in which is an individual not ordinarily resident in Australia; or
  • a foreign corporation or a foreign government holds a substantial interest; or
  • a corporation in which two or more persons, each of whom is an individual not ordinarily resident in Australia, a foreign corporation or a foreign government, hold an aggregate substantial interest; or
  • the trustee of a trust in which an individual not ordinarily resident in Australia, a foreign corporation or a foreign government holds a substantial interest; or the trustee of a trust in which two or more persons, each of whom is an individual not ordinarily resident in Australia, a foreign corporation or a foreign government, hold an aggregate substantial interest; or
  • a foreign government; or
  • a general partner of a limited partnership where:
  • an individual not ordinarily resident in Australia, a foreign corporation or a foreign government holds at least 20 per cent in the limited partnership, or
  • two or more persons each of whom is an individual not ordinarily resident in Australia, a foreign corporation or a foreign government, hold an aggregate interest of at least 40 per cent in the limited partnership.

Should you be considering purchasing property in NSW and are unsure if the Surcharge Purchaser Duty applies to you, feel free to call Nicole on 9328 6917 for a consultation.

Article by: Nicole Leggat

Foreign Exchange in Expatland – What You Should Know

 

Whether you’ve just started your new life in Expatland or are looking to move back to your country of origin, the need will undoubtedly arise to exchange foreign currency.

Your personal circumstances will determine why you need to exchange currency, the frequency by which you transact and the volume. A currency need will typically arise from:

  • Transferring life savings
  • Selling and/or buying a property in your country of origin and/or Expatland
  • Pensions transfers
  • Repatriating income
  • Investing in assets domiciled in Expatland
  • Sending money home to friends and/or family

So what should you be aware of when converting your currency and sending or receiving cross-border payments?

  1. Are you really getting the best rate?

You trust your bank with your day-to-day banking needs so surely they must be the best option for your foreign currency and international payments needs? The reality is however, that for retail clients the daily buy/sell rates set by the banks often include a cost to transact plus additional sending and receiving fees.

By doing your research and venturing beyond the banking relationship to an alternative foreign exchange provider like XE Money Transfer, you’ll find that you will be able to take advantage of a much higher rate of exchange and no transfer fees – saving you thousands of dollars on your international money transfers.

  1. Protect yourself from currency risk on high value transactions

When making high value transactions that occur over a longer period of time, you may want to mitigate currency risk by locking in a favourable rate of exchange.

Currency risk refers to the uncertainties faced by fluctuating exchange rates and can have a significant effect on the outcome you achieve when it comes to executing your currency conversion.

Contrary to what you may think, you are not restricted to simply accepting the spot rate you are given on the day.

At XE, we provide a range of risk management transactions from Market Orders to Forward Exchange Contracts (FECs) and more complex structure options and our team will be able to advise you on the right strategy to ensure you are getting the best rate of exchange and are not left at the mercy of exchange rate movements.

Handy Hints for Moving

 

Relocating to a new city or destination is an exciting yet daunting time for the individual, couple or family.

The best piece of advice you’ll hear, is to plan for your move well in advance. It will help to reduce the stress which can be overwhelming at times, especially if its your first venture into Expatland.

Tips on What to Do Before You Move

Declutter. It’s not only cathartic to do a clear out before the move but also makes perfect sense. It’s much more difficult and stressful to try and declutter when the packers are there. The packers can’t make those decisions for you, “Should that stay or should it go”?

Organise rubbish collection, garage sales and donations to thrift / charity shops in plenty of time before packing day. You’ll feel better for it and you’re not paying for transporting ‘stuff’ that you may very well throw out when you move into your new home.

Accept help when it’s offered from friends and family. Put your super cape away! It’s o.k. They want to help! Whether for child-minding duties, replenishing the mugs of tea or coffee or cooked meals, it all helps in reducing the stress. Especially on packing day.

If moving with children, get some small packing boxes in advance from the moving company. Let them draw on them, colour them in, write their names on them. They can pack those precious soft toys in preparation for the move. Imagine their excited faces when they recognize their own boxes arriving safe and sound at your new home.

Decide in advance what you will need to:

a) Take on the flight. Those items you’ll need immediately on arrival.

b) What might need to be sent airfreight (that can be expensive) but you can get access to it earlier than if it’s shipped seafreight.

c) Then what needs to go into storage at your destination until you find your new home.

Most important of all, choose an experienced, industry approved relocation company.

When the Relocation consultant has expat experience themselves, they understand and appreciate the stress and pressure that comes with the move. Remember they are your first port of call on this amazing journey, so you want to feel confident and happy with the service they offer.

Get that right at the start and they will assist and support you, listen to your concerns and advise you, as you embark on this exciting journey.

Written by:  Nuss Relocations

Want to see more? Sign up now!