Investor lending by banks continues to tighten as major announces foreign buyer restrictions

New Law

As banks start lifting rates to tighten their lending to property investors in response to the Australian Prudential Regulation Authority’s crackdown, Westpac has announced changes to its lending to foreign buyers.

The major bank has written to mortgage brokers telling them that all applicants for property investment loans must have an Australian visa and conform to Foreign Investment Review Board regulations.

According to the bank sent the letter to brokers last week and it was leaked to the Australian Financial Review.

The AFR said the letters were sent to those brokers that were identified as having a high proportion of clients who do not reside in Australia. 

“All future home lending applications that you submit to Westpac must contain a primary application that has an Australian residential address,” the letter read. 

A Westpac spokesperson played down the move in a statement to AFR, saying the bank was reminding brokers of the importance of operating within the FIRB rules in the current economic climate. 

“It’s just a reminder to brokers with a higher percentage of non-resident lending that when submitting owner-occupied applications [they] should contain an Australian residential address,” the spokesperson said.


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