Significant reforms to FIRB approval from 1 January 2021

There are a number of significant changes to the FIRB approval framework taking effect from 1 January 2021.

One of the most significant changes is that the temporary $0 monetary screening thresholds on most foreign property investment revert to the usual thresholds which applied pre-29 March 2020 (ie the ‘pre-Covid’ thresholds already in place).

The $0 threshold will remain for sensitive national security land or businesses, meaning foreign investors will continue to require FIRB approval for these types of acquisitions regardless of value.

There have also been significant changes to the fees payable for FIRB applications – now by way of a ‘tiered’ structure tied to the value of the property which is likely to result in higher fees for most commercial property transactions, in particular higher value transactions.