OIO approves 249 overseas people to buy homes since rule changes

31 October 2019

The Overseas Investment Office (OIO) approved 249 applications from people with residency visas to buy homes since restrictions to overseas ownership were introduced in October 2018.

Group Manager for the Overseas Investment Office, Vanessa Horne, says a small number of overseas people are entitled to buy one home to live in in New Zealand.

“Under the new overseas investment rules, most overseas people are not entitled to buy homes in New Zealand,” Ms Horne says. “However, people with residency visas are able to apply to the OIO to buy a home to live in.”

In October 2018 the Government made changes to the Overseas Investment Act to put restrictions on overseas people buying residential property in New Zealand.

“Since the rules were changed the OIO has received 276 applications from permanent residents to buy one home to live in.

“More than 90% of applications have been approved, with 27 applications being declined or withdrawn by applicants. The total value of the homes that have been consented is $165 million to date.”

Auckland was the top region for consents (74), followed by Canterbury (25) and Wellington (20).

Applications have been received from citizens of 30 countries, Ms Horne says.

“The highest number of applications came from citizens of the United Kingdom (30%), closely followed by Chinese citizens (24%). South Africa and the United States of America followed with a combined 18% of the total applications.”

Ms Horne says it’s important anybody looking to buy a home in New Zealand checks if they are eligible to do so.

“We’re confident most overseas people are following the rules. If you’re in doubt about whether you’re eligible, look at the criteria on our website or talk to us.

“If you need consent to buy a home and fail to do so we have the power to impose a range of penalties, from fines to requiring people to sell their properties.”

The OIO is actively monitoring about 200 consent holders to ensure they abide by their obligations under the Overseas Investment Act. This includes monitoring their visa status, time spent in New Zealand and whether they are residing in the home.

One Home to Live In applications are processed in two to three days on average.  

People from Australia or Singapore can buy homes to live in without consent from the OIO. This is because of New Zealand’s free trade agreements with these countries.

More information for overseas people looking to buy or build one home to live in.

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