Overseas people are usually able to buy apartments off the plans as investments, but not to live in. There are some that overseas people can buy to live in.

This page is for:

  • Overseas people who want to buy apartments off the plans as an investment or to live in.
  • Large apartment developers who want to know the rules for overseas people buying their apartments.

Buying apartments

Overseas people can buy apartments off the plans in large apartment developments in three ways:

 Can buyCan live inMust on sell
Transitional exemption certificatex
Exemption certificatexx
Individual applicationx

Transitional exemption certificate

If you are an overseas person, you may buy an apartment in a development that has a transitional exemption certificate without needing consent. Your purchase must be the first sale and settle before 22 August 2023. There are no other limitations – you may live in the apartment and you do not have to on-sell it. Please see the Transitional exemption certificate register for the full list of developments.

Exemption certificate

You may also buy an apartment in a large development that has been granted an exemption certificate without needing consent.

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

You can only rely on the exemption certificate to buy your apartment if it is part of the 60 per cent the developer is allowed to sell 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.

Please see the Exemption certificate register for the full list of developments.

Buying apartments off the plans

If a development does not have a certificate or you want to buy an apartment that is over the 60 per cent limit for an exemption certificate, you can apply for a one-off consent. 

To be eligible, the development must have 1 or more multi-storey buildings as 1 development, where each building will consist of at least 20 or more apartments.

You can’t live in the apartment and you must on-sell it within a timeframe set by the Overseas Investment Office.

The fee for this consent is $2,040. See the application templates for more.


If an overseas person buys an apartment off the plans, but does not meet these requirements, they may face significant penalties, and may be required to dispose of the property.

A New Zealander cannot buy an apartment on behalf of an overseas person in order to get around these requirements.


This website provides general information only. The OIO and LINZ do not assume any responsibility for giving legal or other professional advice and disclaim any liability arising from the use of the information. If you require legal or other expert advice you should seek assistance from a professional adviser.

Last Updated: 21 August 2019