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New Zealand bans foreign home buyers

Tuesday 21 November 2017

As New Zealand faces a housing affordability crisis, Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern has banned the sale of homes to non-residents.

During an announcement which set out plans to slash immigration in the country, Jacinda Ardern confirmed that the Government have agreed to ban the purchase of existing homes by foreign buyers, in an effort to cool soaring property prices.

The ban follows fears that overseas buyers are putting too much pressure on the country's infrastructure, and the current housing crisis is leaving home ownership out of reach for many natives, with low interest rates, limited housing stock and inflated prices.

In recent years, New Zealand has become a destination hotspot for wealthy settlers, with Chinese, American and Asian buyers among the biggest offshore investors in New Zealand's property market.

According to research conducted by property agents Knight Frank, New Zealand was the tenth fastest growing country in the world in terms of house prices. Residential prices in the capital soared 18.1 per cent in the year to June 2017, with prices in Auckland, the country's largest city, rising 9.8 per cent over the same period. The data showed an overall annual price increase of 10.4 per cent, compared to the UK's growth of 2.8 per cent.

Whilst immigration to New Zealand grew by 19 per cent in the last financial year, home ownership reached its lowest level in 65 years, with only a quarter of adults under 40 now owning their own home - compared with half in 1991. Though this isn't surprising when you consider the median price for residential property in Auckland is a whopping $845,000 (£443,554).

However, despite the apparent boom, official statistics show that of the 48,603 property transfers registered by the government in the three months to June, just three per cent were buyers with an overseas tax residency.

Speaking after the announcement, leader of NZ First, Winston Peters, said: “There’s going to be a change and a clear signal sent internationally that New Zealand is no longer for sale in the way it has been. And we are happy with that.”