7 Jun 2018

How many NZ homes are being snapped up by overseas buyers?

12:26 pm on 7 June 2018

More than 7 percent of Auckland homes sold or transferred in the first three months of the year were to overseas buyers.

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Photo: 123RF

For the first time, Stats NZ has published property figures which show the tax residency of those transferring property.

Nearly 33,000 homes changed hands across New Zealand in the quarter, of which 3.3 percent were to people who didn't hold New Zealand citizenship or resident visas.

Property statistics manager Melissa McKenzie said the proportion of overseas home buyers varied across Auckland.

The city's Waitematā local board, which covers expensive suburbs such as, Herne Bay, Ponsonby, the CBD and Parnell, had international buyers making up 18.7 percent of the purchases.

Franklin, covering the likes of Clevedon, Whitford, Pukekohe and Beachlands, had 1.7 percent overseas buyers.

Overall, the figure for Auckland was 7.3 percent.

The area with the highest proportion of transfer to people who didn't hold citizenship or resident visas was Queenstown-Lakes district at 9.7 percent.

Wellington had a slight increase from 1 percent to 1.6 percent of overseas buyers, and Bay of Plenty was steady at 1 percent.

Nearly 10 percent of all home transfers were to corporate entities, for which information on the ownership isn't currently available, Stats NZ said.

Stats NZ said 4.3 percent of all property, including homes, land, and commercial property, involved at least one buyer with overseas tax residency, compared to 3 percent the previous year.

Chinese and Australian tax residents made up the majority of foreign buyers and sellers. There were 22,000 New Zealand residents who bought property, with 543 Chinese involved with purchases and 480 Australians, and smaller numbers of tax residents of the United Kingdom, US and Hong Kong.

Stats NZ took over responsibility for collating the data from Land Information after the old system was criticised by opposition parties who said it underestimated the number of foreign buyers.

In one of its first acts as the new government the Prime Minster Jacinda Ardern said she would ban foreign speculators from buying houses in New Zealand, arguing they're pushing first home buyers and families out of the market.

It means most overseas buyers who do not have a commitment to reside in New Zealand, will not be able to buy homes unless they build new houses on the land as well.

Stats NZ defines home transfers as the sale and purchase of houses, the transfer of a deceased family member's home, a marriage settlement and administrative changes.

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