7 April 2020

During the first quarter of 2020, the Overseas Investment Office approved 72 applications for people with residency visas to buy homes 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 Overseas Investment Office has received 404 applications from permanent residents to buy One Home to Live In,” says Vanessa Horne, Group Manager of the Overseas Investment Office.

“More than 90% of applications have been approved, with 28 applications being declined or withdrawn by applicants. The total value of the homes that have been consented is $253 million to date.”

Auckland was the top region for consents (77), followed by Canterbury (25) and Wellington (20).

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

“The highest number of applications came from citizens of the United Kingdom (30%), closely followed by Chinese citizens (25%). South Africa and the United States of America followed with a combined 17% of the total applications.”

One Home to Live In applications are processed in 2 to 3 days on average.

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. These include fines or requiring people to sell their properties.”

The Overseas Investment Office 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.

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

Even though the country is in alert level 4, the Overseas Investment Office is actively working with applicants, including approving three applications for April already. The Office is confident it can support the expected increase in potential applications once the real estate market is fully operational.

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