Forced sale of 300 foreign-owned homes

Foreign nationals have been forced to sell more than 300 properties across Australia after buying them illegally.

The 316 properties were sold between 2015 and October 31 this year, after the Australian Taxation Office took action against their owners for breaching foreign investment rules.

The real estate had been owned by people from a range of countries, including China, the United Kingdom and Malaysia.

Some of the foreign owners also came from Singapore, Indonesia, India, the United States, Hong Kong, Italy and Germany.

The properties were collectively worth more than $380 million, with almost half of them (144) bought in Victoria, 73 in NSW and 64 in Queensland.

The forced sales come after the ATO was given responsibility for residential real estate compliance in 2015, to ensure foreign nationals holding Australian properties illegally are held to account.

"This is the result of the government’s commitment to enforcing our rules," Treasurer Josh Frydenberg said on Monday.

The tax office has in total issued more than 1500 penalty notices to people who have failed to obtain foreign review board approval before buying a property, or breached a condition of an approved application.

The biggest number of properties forced back onto the market came in 2017-18, with 131 properties worth $133.9 million sold.

Australian Associated Press