28 May 2020
Universal Homes Limited is a property developer specialising in projects that involve subdivision through to completed houses. It has a proven track record of completing residential developments in Auckland over several decades, and is one of the country’s largest house building companies.
Universal has been granted numerous consents from the Overseas Investment Office since the 1990s, with more than 10 consents granted since 2001. Notably this includes consent granted in 2017 to purchase 42 hectares of land at Westgate, Auckland, for a large residential development.
The standing consent granted by the Overseas Investment Office means Universal can purchase residential land in the Auckland region, to subdivide and develop, construct houses, and sell house and land packages to the public. A standing consent will add efficiency to Universal’s business by enabling it to acquire land in a shorter timeframe, and consequently develop housing in a shorter timeframe, than if it had to apply for separate consents for each transaction.
April’s standing consent is for a maximum of 27 transactions by 3 April 2023 and will allow Universal to acquire up to a total of 21.5 hectares of residential land in Auckland. Under the standing consent, once a development is complete, Universal must also divest all of their interests within a period of time.
This type of standing consent was introduced as part of the Overseas Investment Amendment Act 2018 and is designed to encourage housing development. Only quality investors with a proven track record, and detailed business plans and processes in place, are granted a standing consent.
Universal Homes is ultimately majority-owned by China Merchants Group Limited (a state-owned enterprise of the People’s Republic of China) and is 100% Chinese owned.
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