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Brisbane is an exciting city, with over two million people from every corner of the globe. If you’re moving to Brisbane to take advantage of the great climate, easy lifestyle and strong economy, you’ll likely be considering whether you should buy or rent. Whether you’re moving for a shorter stint or making a permanent change, there are plenty of options.

If you are a Kiwi moving to Brisbane in Australia, one of the first things you’ll want to have sorted is your accommodation. While Australia and New Zealand have a lot of similarities, moving countries is a big deal, and knowing where you’re going to live is one of the big items on your list of things to sort out. The rental market is less competitive in New Zealand as compared to Australia, so you will need to hustle once you find a place you really like.

These days, the availability of AirBnB and short term stays in serviced apartments means you can move to Brisbane and stay in medium term accommodation cheaply. This allows you to begin the process of house hunting without the pressure of needing a home immediately, giving yourself time to make the right decision without burning a huge hole in your pocket.

Brisbane is one of the strongest performing capital cities in Australia, and its housing market continues to post steady, modest growth. If you are making a long term or permanent move to Brisbane you may want to consider buying property. If you’re there for a shorter term you may prefer to rent, either an entire apartment to yourself, or with flatmates. You’re going to have to figure out:

  • If renting or buying makes sense for your lifestyle
  • how the rental and property market in Brisbane works
  • whether you should live in the city or head to the suburbs
  • navigate the legal stuff and paperwork required
  • the costs involved

This guide will help you understand renting or buying property in Brisbane.

Renting a home in Brisbane

You need to pick the area you would like to live in with some care. This is not quite as simple as in New Zealand, since Brisbane is a bustling metropolis and has spread out suburbs. You need to do your research and decide whether you want to live within the city (which will be more expensive), in the ‘burbs and spend time traveling, or if being by the beach is a priority for you. And it is worth the effort of going to the various places you’re interested in, in person, and checking out the space and facilities in the area– even if you found the posting online and there were tons of pictures and descriptions. Is there good shopping there? What about public transport links? Which schools are in the area?

Once you’ve found the area you like, it’s time to dive into the legal requirements. The state of Queensland, of which Brisbane is the capital city, has its own set of regulations, but you need to have a Residential Tenancy Agreement or common law agreement in place. You can download the Queensland tenancy agreement here.

When you’re applying for a rental property, you will need to show proof of income (bank statements for 3 months, payslip), ID (passport or driving license), and you may be asked for previous rental information – so if you can get a reference from a past landlord, that will definitely help your case in the competitive market. Because the rental market is so competitive, have all the relevant paperwork you need compiled before you apply.

Find out how much bond you are expected to pay, which is usually between two to four weeks of rent, and get a receipt for it. Your bond amount will be returned in full when you leave, as long as there aren’t any damages sustained to the property. You should fill in a bond lodgement form and send it to the Queensland bond lodgement authority in 10 days – neither you nor the landlord or other tenants should keep it.

An important point to note is that if you’re subletting the room, ensure that the landlord is aware of and has given his approval. In Australia, it is against the law to sublet a room without having the landlord’s permission.

Cost of renting property in Brisbane

Brisbane has cheaper rent than Sydney and Perth, but more expensive than Melbourne suburbs and Cairns. Expect to pay anything from $300 to $500 a week for a one bedroom apartment, and $400 to $850 a week for a three bedroom one, with the higher end of the scale going to city centre or high end suburbs like Chemler and Pullenvale. On average, a two bedroom house goes for around $600 per week.

Flatting with others

If you’ve decided to not buy or rent an entire place for yourself, you’ll be looking for flatmates. It’s cheaper and it’s a great way to make friends and learn a bit about the local area. Whatever the reasoning, flatting is a good option.

Look for flats with rooms available based on your needs. Think about what you expect:

  • Do you want a large room with ensuite bathroom or are you okay sharing the bathroom and taking a small room?
  • What are the kitchen and common area usage expectations?
  • Are your potential flatmates on the same page as you when it comes to cooking, noise levels, having people over, or smoking?
  • Whether the rent is due weekly, fortnightly or monthly
  • How utilities and other shared expenses will be split

These days, aside from a group of young people living together, a new type of flatter has emerged. There are more and more people from the older generation who want company or need to earn some extra income, and so have decided to rent out a part of his/her home. If you are considering this, make sure you have discussed expectations thoroughly as they make have very different expectations than you do.

If you are wanting to go flatting, here’s a list of websites to get started on your search. You can also check out the flyers posted at the local grocery stores and cafes, places of worship you attend and then there’s good old word of mouth too! You can expect to pay in the range of $200 a week for a flat share situation in the city or nice suburbs.

Buying property in Brisbane

As a Kiwi in Australia, you have similar rights to property ownership and purchase as at home. You don’t need to wait for FIRB approval. This is a great year to invest in property in Brisbane, whether you are looking at buying a house or a unit/ apartment. Housing prices are not growing as fast as previous years and the prediction is that the prices of apartments in Brisbane will fall over the next couple of years. There is an expectation that after this flattened period, Brisbane will begin to catch up in terms of real estate valuation to Sydney and Melbourne. If you follow the advice of buying in gloom and selling in boom, now is a great time to buy.

At present, a house in Brisbane averages at $560,000, while a similar place in Sydney will set you back nearly twice that amount, at around $1.05 million. If you are buying with an eye to investment and renting out the property, you can expect a rental yield of over 4% for houses and 5% + for units.

Every city and neighbourhood will have its idiosyncrasies. Do your research of the various areas and be aware of issues like potential flooding or low lying spots, as well as the real estate growth or lack of growth for that specific area. Also, take note that unlike many of the other cities in Australia, Brisbane housing stock is weatherboard ‘Queenslanders’ so timber, and not brick.

Check out these sites to help you on your search to find the perfect home.

Be prepared before entering the Brisbane housing market

Not needing FIRB approval makes buying a home in Aussie as easy as acquiring property in New Zealand. However as with any purchasing of property, certain things you need to have sorted before you venture into the market.

Have a local lawyer on hand to help you with the legal requirements and paperwork. There are state specific rules for house buying and the process, and a lawyer will know exactly what is required for the Queensland market. Next, ensure you have your financing pre-approved. Use a mortgage broker to help with the process and make it easier on you. Having these two aspects taken care of means that when you find the house or unit that you love, you can move ahead quickly, and not lose your dream home to a better prepared buyer.

Buying a home in Australia, like in New Zealand, means you raise the money based on your deposit, go to an auction, and then buy the home. While auctions are not the only method of purchase and you can get into a private sale with an owner, the majority of houses in Brisbane are sold by auction. Most of the time, these auctions are conducted on the property itself, so you do need to be present. Check out the QLD local body government site which has lots of information on renting and buying in the state. The property regulation page gives you details on the legal side of home buying in Queensland.

Kiwis getting a mortgage in Brisbane

Do you need a mortgage to pay for your home? The process is similar to NZ. You have to apply for a loan from the bank, offer proof of income by way of tax returns and payslips. It is advisable to have a deposit of ten percent, but there are a few banks that will take a 5% deposit if other factors are favourable.

Rates of interest, percentage and the overall rules of engagement do vary bank to bank. And as a non-Australian citizen, you may well be charged a higher rate of interest by the banks. You can expect that your NZ credit rating will be looked at, and so before you enter into this process in Australia, we suggest you get in touch with the credit ratings providers back home to check on your ratings. Don’t apply for a loan until you have paid up all outstanding debt and fines. Here are the sites to check on your ratings:

Be aware that you will likely have to pay some taxes and stamp duty as a Kiwi buying property in Australia. Stamp duty is an Australian tax that you pay on top of the property’s purchase price, and it is a percentage of the price – and this is state dependant. This calculator will help you find out how much you are going to have to pay in Queensland.

If you are eligible under the Australian First Home Owners Scheme you may have a reduced amount to pay. Also, if you are in Australia on a special category visa, then you may not have to pay stamp duty in Queensland – check into the particulars for your situation. If you do not own property in NZ or sold it before your move, then you won’t have to deal with the Australian capital gains tax. But if you have a property in NZ that is on rent or gets sold while you’re residing in Australia, you may be liable for CGT. Discuss the legal and financial ramifications with an Australian accountant to be safe.

FAQs

What suburbs are the best in Brisbane?

Spring Hill, Kangaroo Point, Corinda, Fortitude Valley, West End and New Farm are highly rated suburbs from a lifestyle perspective.

Should I buy or rent in Brisbane?

Well, as we discussed above, this is a great year to invest in property in Brisbane, since indications are that prices will soon rise. So, if you have the ability to buy, that’s what you should be looking to do!

Who administers renting process in Brisbane?

There are specific rules and regulations to follow as a renter, so head over to https://www.rta.qld.gov.au/renting and get all the details you need.

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If you are moving the majority of your household items from New Zealand to Australia, one of Ausmoves experienced relocation consultants will visit your home to establish your specific packing requirements and any unique moving needs. Learn more about moving to Australia from NZ.

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