Property council to fight foreign investment fee

THE property industry has signalled it will fight Prime Minister Tony Abbott's move to tighten scrutiny of foreign investment.

Mr Abbott this week said the government would move to tighten the scrutiny of foreign investment in real estate and agriculture land.

The changes would include new up-front $5000 fees for foreign investors buying Australian real estate, which the Property Council has questioned.

Property Council of Australia chief executive Ken Morrison said anecdotal claims of foreign investors driving up prices and locking out first-home buyers were "simply untrue".

Despite evidence to a parliamentary inquiry into the issue finding foreign investment may be driving up Sydney property prices, Mr Morrison said there was no evidence.

Rather, he said foreign investment put "downward pressure" on home prices and helped fund new housing construction.

He said a $5000 fee on buyers in the mid-$500,000 price range would discourage them from buying and could "undermine new construction".