Thinking of Moving to New Zealand? Think Again

Aug 16, 2018

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If your version of a post-retirement (or post-apocalyptic) getaway plan involves buying property in New Zealand, it might be time to go back to the drawing board.

On Wednesday, New Zealand’s government passed a law, called the Overseas Investment Amendment, that will ban foreigners from buying existing homes in the country. The law, created in response to a sharp increase in overseas buyers in recent years, was “designed to make housing more affordable for nationals” (especially first-time buyers) as well as to combat homelessness, according to Business Insider.

Foreign buyers will, however, still be able to purchase property in “new block housing developments.”

Only a quarter of New Zealanders currently own a home, down from half in 1991. New Zealanders also face some of the most unaffordable housing prices in the world. And according to a 2017 report from the Real Estate Institute of New Zealand (REINZ), the city of Auckland has seen a 67% increase in the price of housing since 2012.

Associate finance minister David Parker said in a statement that parliament, “believes that New Zealanders should not be outbid by wealthier foreign buyers,” and that residents “should not be tenants” in their own land.

And just who are those top buyers? Business Insider reported that the majority come from China and Australia. But there’s another group hot on the New Zealand property trail: billionaires from Silicon Valley, like Peter Thiel, who purchased a sprawling piece of property in the upscale Wanaka neighborhood in 2015. Rumor has it he was lining up a place of refuge in the case of a major emergency on American soil.

“New Zealand has become known as a get-away for the super-rich who see it as an escape from crowds, social unrest and as a safe refuge in the event of nuclear war,” BI reported.

At this time, buyers from Australia and Singapore remain exempt from the new law, as do foreigners with residency status.

H/T: Business Insider

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