New Zealand enacts bill prohibiting non-resident foreigners buying home or land

New Zealand has proposed changes to the Overseas Investment Act (2005) mean that overseas nationals will generally be unable to buy existing homes or residential land within New Zealand to make homes more affordable to New Zealand residents.

These changes will mean that overseas persons who are not resident in New Zealand will generally not be able to buy existing houses or other pieces of residential land.

On 14 December 2017 the Government introduced a Bill to amend the Overseas Investment Act. The Bill implements the Government’s policy to bring residential land within the category of “sensitive land” for the purposes of the Act.

Under the proposed legislation, those who hold a permanent resident visa, and has been living here for at least a year – including at least 183 days in the past year – will still be able to purchase a home. However, details of the proposed changes are still being worked through.

“This Government welcomes foreign investment in houses to add to our housing supply. However, purchases of homes by offshore speculators push first home-buyers and families out of the housing market.” Phil Twyford says.

Overseas persons will be able to buy sensitive land that is residential land in certain situations. These are:

  • if they will be developing the land and adding to New Zealand’s housing supply; or
  • if they will convert the land to another use (eg, a business) and are able to demonstrate this would have wider benefits to the country; or
  • if they have an appropriate visa status and can show they have committed to reside in New Zealand (the criteria for this will be defined through regulations).

The changes to the legislation are expected to be finalised and implemented in early 2018.

New Zealand and Australian citizens will be exempt from the regime.

Read more: http://www.treasury.govt.nz/publications/informationreleases/overseasinvestment/residential-land



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