British and multinational companies are among those shortlisted to take over state housing stock in Tauranga and Invercargill.
The government is selling off Housing New Zealand's 1124 homes in Invercargill and 348 in Invercargill to Community Housing Providers as a pilot to see whether it could work across the country.
It has asked for proposals from four groups wanting to purchase and manage social houses in the two cities.
The shortlisted organisations are the Pact Group in Invercargill, and Accessible Properties, Hapori Connect Tauranga and Kainga Community Housing Partners in Tauranga.
They have now been asked to provide detailed formal proposals.
The government expects to announce the preferred bidder for each region later this year.
Organisations bid for state housing stock
Hapori Connect Tauranga is made up of three international firms, despite the local sounding name.
The John Laing Infrastructure Fund has a premium listing on the London Stock Exchange and has international investments.
Pinnacle Community Housing is a British-owned firm that says on its website it is looking at exciting opportunities in social housing in New Zealand and Brookfrields Global Integrated Solutions is a property management company with an Australian base.
Kainga Community Housing is a diverse mix of partners. They include Morrison and Co which is a New Zealand-founded investment company, Australian-owned social housing provider Compass Housing, which has set up a New Zealand arm, and the Australasian facilities management company Programmed FM.
Two Maori groups, Nga Potiki a Tamapahore Trust and Tapuika Iwi Authority group and the Masterton-based social housing provider Trust House Limited complete the group.
Accessible Properties is owned by IHC and manages its 1100 properties around the country.
The Pact Group is the sole company shortlisted for Invercargill. It works mainly in the South Island and provides social housing and support services for people with disabilities and mental illness.