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Should you Buy a house on Visa subclass 491, 482, 186 or 500 Student or similar temporary visa with all the additional duties? Is it worth it?

Mar 25, 2024 | Blog, Business

The decision to rent or buy a home on a Visa subclass 491, 482, 186 or 500 Student or similar temporary visa with additional cost is one of the most significant financial choices we make. It’s a decision that impacts our lifestyle, savings, and long-term financial stability. In this blog post, we’ll delve into specific scenarios and compare them to help you make an informed choice: continuing to rent versus buying property. We have developed an excel sheet to do the maths and let the numbers speek for themselves.

Comparing Home Finance Options: Renting vs. Buying on a work visa such as Subclass 491 visa – A Comprehensive Analysis

Buying Property on a Visa subclass 491, 482, 186 or 500 Student or similar temporary visa: The Challenges

1. State Levy and Stamp Duty wavier

  • As a subclass 491, 482, 186 or 500 Student or similar temporary visa visa holder, you’re subject to additional costs when purchasing property. Some states impose a state levy on foreign buyers, which increases the overall stamp duty.
  • Stamp duty rates vary across states and territories. While PRs and citizens may benefit from concessions or exemptions, temporary visa holders often pay higher rates.
  • As temporary visa holder holder you do not get stamp duty wavier for your first home as the PR and citizen do.
  • Calculate your stamp duty using Stamp Duty Calculator WA | House & Land Stamp Duty Calculator – REIWA

2. Foreign Investment Review Board (FIRB) Approval

  • The FIRB oversees foreign investment in Australia. As a subclass 491, 482, 186 or 500 Student or similar temporary visa visa holder, you must seek FIRB approval before buying residential property.
  • FIRB approval ensures that foreign investment aligns with national interests. However, the process adds complexity and time to your property purchase.
  • Visit ATO website for details. Residential application | Australian Taxation Office (ato.gov.au). it is roughy $135,000/- for a property value less then $1 million.
  • If you do not have an exact property address that you want to buy, you can loge an applicaiton for exemption certificate and once you have the certificate, you can purchase the land and then update address on ATO record.
  • The fee may be exempted on case by case bases. While writing this article, I called ATO but couldnt get a definative answer, as to what are the criteria for fee exemption.

3. No First Home Buyer Grant

  • Unfortunately, subclass 491, 482, 186 or 500 Student or similar temporary visa visa holders are ineligible for the First Home Buyer Grant, a financial incentive provided to PRs and citizens.
  • This grant can significantly reduce the initial cost of buying a home, but visa holders miss out on this benefit.

The Impact on Affordability

  • When you combine the state levy, extra stamp duty, FIRB fees, and the absence of first home buyer grants, the overall buying price becomes more expensive for subclass 491, 482, 186 or 500 Student or similar temporary visa visa holders.
  • It’s essential to factor in these additional costs when budgeting for your property purchase.

I have made this Excel Sheet that you can use to see your asset value after five years and compare the options. You can decide your self, if it is worth buying a property right now or renting it.

Calculator / Excel Sheet assumptions

  • Interest Rate is set to 7.14%. You can edit it, and the entire sheet will be updated accordingly.
  • Inflation is set to 6%. You can edit it, and the entire sheet will be updated accordingly.
  • Rent is set to $500 per week. You can edit it, and the entire sheet will be updated accordingly.
  • FIRB (Foreign Investment Review Board): it is set to $13500/-
  • Stamp duty is set to 7%. This is true if you are not a Citizen or on PR for WA.
  • The fields that you can edit based on your situation are highlighted in yellow.
  • The sheet has additional sheets named “1,2,3 and 4” these are linked to the main sheet for interest calculation.
  • There are 5 options in this sheet
    • Rent for next three years
    • Buy a block of land only and build later
    • Buy a block of land and build straight away
    • Buy an established house
    • Buy a block of land and build straight away (just dublicated an option to compare different loan terms)

Scenario 1: Continue to Rent for the next three years on your subclass 491, 482, 186 or 500 Student or similar temporary visa while waiting for PR

The Situation

Imagine you’re an expatriate living in Australia on a subclass 491, 482, 186 or 500 Student or similar temporary visa, waiting for your Permanent Residency (PR) status. You have the option to continue renting a property until you receive your PR. Let’s explore the pros and cons of this approach. In this option we have assumed


  1. Flexibility: Renting provides flexibility. You’re not tied down to a mortgage, allowing you to move if needed.
  2. Savings: While renting, you can save money for a down payment on a house.


  1. No Equity: Renting doesn’t build equity. You’re essentially paying someone else’s mortgage.
  2. Market Fluctuations: Property prices may rise during the waiting period, affecting your affordability.

Scenario 2: Buy Land Only and build later

The Situation

You decide to take a proactive approach. Instead of waiting, you buy land with the intention of building a house later. Let’s explore this option.


  1. Investment: Owning land is an investment. Its value may appreciate over time.
  2. Customization: You have the freedom to design and build your dream home.


  1. Initial Costs: Buying land requires upfront costs, including stamp duty and legal fees.
  2. No Immediate Home: You won’t have a house to live in right away.

Scenario 3: Buy Land and Build Your Dream Home Straight away

The Situation

You’ve decided to take a more proactive approach. Instead of waiting for your PR, you choose to buy land with the intention of building your dream home. Let’s explore this option.


  1. Investment and Customization: Owning land is not only an investment but also an opportunity to create a home tailored to your preferences. You can design and build exactly what you envision.
  2. Long-Term Vision: Buying land allows you to think long-term. You’re not just purchasing a property; you’re investing in your future.


  1. Initial Costs: Acquiring land involves upfront expenses, including stamp duty and legal fees.
  2. Patience Required: Building a house takes time. You’ll need to coordinate with architects, builders, and contractors.

The Journey

  1. Land Purchase: You find a suitable plot of land, negotiate the price, and complete the purchase. The land becomes your canvas for creating your dream home.
  2. Design and Approvals: You work with architects to design your house. Obtaining necessary approvals from local authorities is crucial.
  3. Construction: Builders bring your vision to life. The construction process involves various stages, from laying the foundation to adding finishing touches.
  4. Move-In: Once your house is ready, you move in and start making memories.

Scenario 4: Buy an established house


When it comes to purchasing a home, buying an established house has several advantages. Let’s explore why this option can be beneficial:

  1. Immediate Move-In:
    • One of the most significant advantages is that you can move straight into an established house. There’s no waiting period for construction or dealing with the complexities of building from scratch.
    • Whether you’re relocating, upgrading, or downsizing, an existing home allows you to settle in right away.
  2. Save on Rent from Day One:
    • When you buy an established house, you immediately stop paying rent. This financial relief starts from the day you move in.
    • Unlike building a new house, where you might continue renting during construction, buying an existing home eliminates this dual expense.


While buying an established house offers several benefits, there are also some drawbacks to consider. Let’s explore the disadvantages:

  1. Higher Stamp Duty:
    • Unfortunately, subclass 491, 482, 186 or 500 Student or similar temporary visa visa holders pay higher rates compared to permanent residents or citizens.
    • The additional stamp duty can significantly increase the overall cost of buying the house.
  2. Limited Customization:
    • Established houses come with their existing layout, design, and features.
    • If you have specific preferences or want to customize your home extensively, you may find limitations with an established property.
    • Renovations can be costly and time-consuming.
  3. Maintenance and Repairs:
    • Older homes may require more maintenance and repairs.
    • You might encounter issues such as plumbing problems, electrical updates, or roof repairs.
    • Budgeting for ongoing maintenance is essential.


All scenarios have been presented. If you choose to rent, focus on saving for a down payment. If you buy land, plan for the long term. Consult a financial advisor to assess your unique situation. This is just a guide based on my rough work.

My sugestion is to buy and the calculations support my suggestion.

Remember, real estate decisions are complex. Consider factors like interest rates, market trends, and your personal goals. Whether you’re waiting for PR or ready to invest, make an informed choice that aligns with your financial vision.

Happy house hunting! ????????


The information provided in this blog post is for general informational purposes only. It does not constitute financial, legal, or professional advice. Always consult with a qualified financial advisor, accountant, or legal professional before making any significant financial decisions.

The content in this blog reflects the author’s opinions and research at the time of writing. However, financial markets, regulations, and circumstances can change rapidly. Therefore, readers should independently verify any information and consider their unique situation before acting on it.

The sheet developed may have errors and mistakes and is not developed by professional finincial advisors.

Remember that real estate decisions are complex and multifaceted. Each individual’s financial situation and goals are different. This blog post does not endorse any specific course of action and is not a substitute for personalized advice.

Readers are encouraged to seek professional guidance tailored to their specific needs. The author and publisher disclaim any liability for any loss or risk incurred as a result of using or relying on the information provided in this blog.

Disclaimer: This blog post provides general information and does not constitute financial advice. Always consult a professional before making significant financial decisions.

Download the 
Subclass 491, 482, 186 or 500 Student or similar temporary visa holder Buying house vs renting – Calculate how much you loose if you wait for your PR 


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