In a move similar to Australia and London, New Zealand will ban foreigners from buying existing homes in the country, joining a growing list of nations trying to make property more affordable for their citizens.
“Foreign speculators will no longer be able to buy houses in New Zealand from early next year,” said Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern. “We are determined to make it easier for Kiwis to buy their first home, so we are stopping foreign speculators buying houses and driving up prices. Kiwis should not be outbid like this.”
House prices have surged in recent years, driving the average value in the nation’s biggest city, Auckland, to more than NZ$1 million (RM2.9 million) and putting property out of reach for many younger Kiwis. While New Zealand joins other countries in restricting or heavily taxing sales of existing homes to foreigners, such measures have done little to curb prices in places like Hong Kong and Australia.
“Foreign buyers of existing homes have become the target of governments globally with increased taxation and buying restrictions,” said Sophie Chick, head of residential research at Savills Australia. “This though hasn’t really put the brakes on foreign investors who often prefer to buy off-the-plan anyway.”
Chinese money, in particular, has pushed up home prices around the world. Auckland is the fourth-least affordable property market in the world, according to Demographia. However, there is limited data on how many non-resident foreigners actually buy residential houses in New Zealand, with the previous government claiming they accounted for as little as 2% of overall purchases.