Find out about the pathways for investing in and developing residential land.

Investing in residential or lifestyle land

If you are an overseas person, you can apply for consent to buy or develop residential land in New Zealand.

Overseas person definition

These pathways for consent are for land that is sensitive solely on the basis that it is categorised as ‘residential’ or ‘lifestyle’ 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.

To qualify under these pathways, the land cannot be considered ‘otherwise sensitive’.

Identifying sensitive land

You may need to notify us

You may need to notify us if you buy or invest in a strategically important New Zealand business or assets used in carrying on a strategically important New Zealand business – even if consent would not normally be required.

Find out if you need to notify us of your transaction

Residential land development pathways

The pathways listed below show the options under this pathway for consent. It is also possible to combine different uses of the residential land in one application for consent.

Increasing housing

You can apply for consent to develop new residential buildings on land that is classed as residential or lifestyle. This could include new homes or long-term accommodation facilities on residential land, or development works to support these.

Increasing residential dwellings

Use this consent if you are buying residential land and intend to increase the number of dwellings on it. 

  • One or more dwellings must be added to the land
  • You cannot live in the dwellings once built
  • You must on-sell the dwellings, unless you are building 20 or more new residential dwellings and you intend to provide a shared equity, rent to buy or rental arrangement.
Increasing long-term accommodation facilities

Use this consent if you are buying residential land and intend to build a long-term accommodation facility on it or increase the number of rooms in one.

  • 'Long-term accommodation facility' means a retirement village or rest home, or a student hostel
  • You cannot live in the long-term accommodation facility once built
  • You must on-sell the development, unless you are either operating it as a long-term accommodation facility yourself, or you have planned for it to be operated by someone else.
Development works

Use this consent if you are buying residential land and intend to do development works to support the construction of residential dwellings or long-term accommodation facilities.

  • Works can include the alteration or removal of a building or infrastructure, or site works, e.g. earth works
  • Consent will not be granted for sub-division alone (without development works).

Using residential land for non-residential purposes

You can apply for consent to use land that is classed as residential or lifestyle for a non-residential purpose, such as building a supermarket, offices, a shopping mall or a hotel.

  • You must intend to use the land in the ordinary course of your business
  • You cannot use the residential land, or land bank it for future residential purposes
  • You cannot live on the land

Incidental use of residential land

You can apply for consent to use land that is classed as residential or lifestyle in various ways to support your business. You must intend to use the land in the ordinary course of your business – for example, you operate an aerodrome at a remote area, and you need residential land to build staff accommodation because the closest town does not offer reasonable alternatives.

  • You cannot live on the residential land
  • If you do not use all the land for the purpose for which you were granted consent, you will be required to on-sell it, unless you can meet the tests for non-residential or increased housing consents above.

Standing consents

If you have a proven track record as a quality investor and are using one of the residential land development pathways above, you may choose to apply for a standing consent to acquire land that is residential but not otherwise sensitive. If granted, this allows you to apply for consent before identifying the property you want to buy. A standing consent covers a predetermined number of transactions and has a use-by date.  You must notify us each time you use a standing consent to complete a transaction.

Notify us of a transaction made under a standing consent

There is a high threshold for a standing consent to be granted. You will need to have detailed business plans that are well advanced and be able to justify the need for one over a one-off consent. Additional conditions will apply. If you are considering applying for a standing consent, please contact us first to discuss the requirements.

Contact the Overseas Investment Office

Fees

Find information on the OIO fees framework and the fees for one-off and standing consents.

OIO fees and penalties

Timeframes

We will endeavour to decide your one-off consent applications within 50 working days.

Apply

Applications must be made online. Find out which information and supporting documents you need to provide, then start your application.

Apply

Legislation

Overseas Investment Act 2005

Provisions relating to the residential land development pathways are detailed in Parts 3, 4 and 5 of Schedule 2 of the Act.

Provisions relating to standing consents for residential land are set out in clauses 2 and 4-7 of Schedule 4 of the Act. 

Last Updated: 13 September 2021