New Zealand to ban foreign property sales

Ryan Bembridge

August 16, 2018

New Zealand is banning most foreigners from buying homes in the country in a bid to make them more affordable.

The ban applies to non-residents, while those from Australia and Singapore are exempt due to free trade deals.

David Parker, New Zealand’s trade and economic development minister, said: “This government believes that New Zealanders should not be outbid by wealthier foreign buyers.

“Whether it’s a beautiful lakeside or ocean-front estate, or a modest suburban house, this law ensures that the market for our homes is set in New Zealand, not on the international market.”

The move fulfils a campaign pledge by the New Zealand Labour Party.

As it stands in central Auckland 22% of homes are sold to foreign buyers, but 3% are sold to foreigners in New Zealand as a whole.

People who already own property will be unaffected, while overseas investors are still permitted to invest in large apartment blocks and hotels.

The International Monetary Fund urged New Zealand to reconsider the ban last month, arguing that it won’t help housing affordability.

Judith Collins of centre-right National Party, said: “So this bill in many ways is like using a hammer to try and crush a teeny weeny little nut because it is about saying that every house, every residential house, is now apparently sensitive land.”

The ban will take effect within two months of being formally approved by New Zealand’s head of state, the governor general.

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