Find out about investing in apartments in New Zealand, and whether you need consent to do so.

Do I need consent?

If you are an overseas person, you can buy apartments off the plans in large apartment developments.

Overseas person definition 

There are 3 ways you can do this, with different rules for each:

 

Can buy

Can live in

Must on-sell

Needs consent

Transitional exemption certificate

x

x

Exemption certificate

x

x

x

Individual application for consent

x

Transitional exemption certificate

You can buy an apartment without consent if you are purchasing off the plans in a building with a transitional exemption certificate.

Your purchase must be the first time the apartment is bought, and you must settle before 22 August 2023. There are no other limitations – you can live in the apartment and you do not have to on-sell it.

The register of buildings with a transitional exemption certificate is now closed and no new developments will be added. See the full list here:

Transitional exemption certificate register

Exemption certificate

You must make the investment before construction of the apartment is complete. You cannot live in the apartment, but you do not need to on-sell it.

The developer is only allowed to sell 60% of the development to overseas people under the terms of the certificate. The developer maintains these records and must give you a copy of the certificate before you enter a sale and purchase agreement.

Full list of developments with exemption certificates:

Exemption certificate register

Individual application for consent

If a development does not have a certificate or you want to buy an apartment that is over the 60% limit for an exemption certificate, you must apply for consent. You can do this in two ways.

Apartment off the plans

You can apply for consent to buy an apartment off the plans. To be eligible, the development must have one or more multi-storey buildings as one development, with each building consisting of at least 20 apartments.

You cannot live in the apartment and you must on-sell it within the timeframe we stipulate.

Buying an apartment as a home to live in

If you have a New Zealand residence class visa, you may be able to buy an apartment, either off the plans or in an existing building, as a home to live in.

Buying or building a home in New Zealand

Fee

The fee for these consents is $2,040.

Fees and penalties

Apply

Find information and resources to help you apply for consent online.

Apply

If you buy without consent

If you buy an apartment when you are not entitled to, you may face significant penalties and may be required to sell the property.

A New Zealander cannot buy an apartment on behalf of an overseas person to avoid these requirements.

Investing on behalf of an overseas person

Legislation

Section 16 of the Overseas Investment Act outlines the criteria for consent for overseas investments in sensitive land, including apartments.

Overseas Investment Act 2005, s16

Schedule 3 of the Act outlines exemptions from the requirement for consent, including for dwellings in large apartment developments that are purchased off plans.

Overseas Investment Act 2005, Schedule 3

Last Updated: 31 May 2021