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Business

Australia fights illegal home buying

The government of Australia has reported considerable progress in its fight against illegal home buying by foreigners in the country. The campaign has been aiming to prevent property prices from soaring further.

Australia forced the sale of more than $76 million (70.5 million euro) worth of residential property, the government reported Monday. The property had been bought illegally by foreigners since Australia introduced a robust investment regime.

Canberra established new rules in December 2015 to fine or even jail foreign nationals flouting laws that only allowed them to purchase new dwellings, but not pre-owned residential property.

The campaign was kicked off after a drastic rise in real estate prices in the country, particularly in Sydney in Melbourne, with housing affordability becoming a key political issue.

Keeping prices in check

There have been concerns that rich foreigners, particularly from China, have helped inflate prices, forcing new potential homeowners out of the market.

"The government is committed to enforcing our rules so that foreign nationals illegally holding Australian property are identified," Treasurer Scott Morrison said in a statement.

Chinese nationals dominated the list wit 25 forced sales. Others came from countries including Britain, Malaysia and Indonesia.

hg/jd (AFP, Reuters)

 

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