Find out about buying or building a home in New Zealand to live in, and whether you will need consent to do so.
This consent covers the purchase of a house in New Zealand or the land on which to build a house. It is available to people who want to buy land that is zoned ‘residential’ or ‘lifestyle’ land on the district valuation roll.
You can check a property's category by using a website like www.qv.co.nz or by asking the local council.
There are different types of eligibility to buy or build a home in New Zealand to live in. These are grouped into the following:
- people who do not need consent
- people who need consent and are eligible to apply for it
- people who are not eligible for consent.
These groups are described further below. You can also check your eligibility using the Immigration New Zealand tool below. If you would like to read examples, see ‘Who can buy a home to live in?’
You can buy or build a home in New Zealand to live in without applying for consent if you:
- are a New Zealand citizen, whether you are living here or not
- have a New Zealand residence class visa and are ordinarily resident in New Zealand
- are an Australian or Singaporean citizen buying residential land only
- are an Australian or Singaporean citizen and are ordinarily resident for ‘residential and otherwise sensitive’ land
- are an Australian or Singaporean permanent resident and are ordinarily resident
- are the partner or spouse of any of the above.
You need consent and are eligible to apply to buy or build a home to live in if you:
- have a New Zealand residence class visa but are not yet ordinarily resident
- are an Australian or Singaporean permanent resident but are not yet ordinarily resident
- are an Australian or Singaporean citizen but are not yet ordinarily resident wanting to buy residential land that is classed as otherwise sensitive land, for example, land next to a river or the sea, or non-urban land over a certain size.
Once consent is granted there are conditions you will need to meet.
You cannot buy or build a home in New Zealand to live in if you are an overseas person and have a temporary, limited, interim or transit visa – for example, a student visa, work visa or visitor visa – or if you do not hold any visa.
If you are unsure, check if you need consent to buy or build a home to live in using the tool on the New Zealand Now website.
If you are married, in a civil union, or in a de facto relationship, you do not both need consent if you are buying the home as relationship property.
If one partner meets the requirements to apply for consent or is not an overseas person, they are able to apply. The other partner does not need to apply, regardless of their visa status.
The legislation covering spouses is in the Overseas Investment Regulations 2005.
You can apply for consent to buy a home to live in using a trust or a company. This is a complex area of law and you will need the help of a New Zealand property or trust lawyer.
To be able to get consent, all of the people who own or control the trust or company must be “qualifying individuals”. This means people who are either:
- New Zealanders
- ordinarily resident here
- holders of residence class visas, or
- Australian and Singaporean citizens and permanent residents.
All the people that we consider own or control the trust or company will be required to live in the house.
If you need consent, you must apply for it as early in the purchase process as possible. Your lawyer needs to have your Overseas Investment Office consent number before you can complete the purchase.
- apply for pre-approval before you have found the property you want to buy, or
- sign a sale and purchase agreement without consent, provided that the agreement is conditional upon obtaining consent under the Act.
If you sign an unconditional agreement without consent, you may face significant penalties and have to sell. If you make a false statement, you could be fined up to $300,000.
When you are ready to buy a home, you will need to complete a Residential Land Statement to confirm you are eligible to buy. Your lawyer will help you do this.
You must let us know if you discover after you buy a house that you should have applied for consent and did not – for example if you were given incorrect legal advice by your lawyer.
You may be able to apply for retrospective consent. If it is granted, you will need to pay a penalty of up to $10,000 in addition to the usual application fee.
Go to our online application form for buying or building one home to live in.
An application for consent to buy residential-only land will take up to 10 working days.
Find information on the OIO fees framework and the fee for one home to live in applications.
Everyone who is named in the consent must:
- live in the property as their main home, and
- be present in New Zealand for at least 183 days in each 12-month period after consent is granted, and
- continue to hold a residence class visa or continue to be an Australian or Singaporean citizen or permanent resident.
If you do not meet all these conditions, you may have to sell the land, and/or face penalties.
These conditions will stop applying to individuals that become a New Zealand citizen or become ordinarily resident in New Zealand.
- The provisions covering people wanting to buy residential land are in the Overseas Investment Act 2005, Schedule 2, Part 2: Commitment to reside in New Zealand test.
- The provisions covering spouses are in the Overseas Investment Regulations 2005:
- The provisions covering fees and penalties are in the Overseas Investment Regulations 2005, Schedule 2 Part 1: Applications relating to transaction in category of overseas investment in sensitive land only – residential land.
- The provisions covering Australians and Singaporean citizens are in the Overseas Investment Regulations 2005, Part 4: Exemptions in respect of overseas investments in sensitive land to implement obligations under international agreements.