Overseas investors will still be able to invest in new housing under the new regime of the Overseas Investment Bill, which was reported back to Parliament yesterday.
The bill will still ban non-NZ citizens & residents, except for Australians & Singaporeans, from buying existing houses.
Associate Finance Minister David Parker said: “Other recommended changes will simplify the process for buying residential land for commercial purposes, such as hotels, supermarkets & businesses that create jobs and support our communities. This includes an exemption for utility companies, reflecting the importance of these services to all Kiwis.”
Changes have also been made to the forestry investment screening regime (see separate story).
Mr Parker said: “This law will ensure that the market for our homes is a New Zealand market not an international one.”
All permanent residents & resident visa holders who spend most of their time in New Zealand will be able to buy homes under the regime without obtaining consent.
Australian & Singapore citizens & residents will be treated the same as New Zealand citizens & permanent residents.
They will be able to buy apartments, new rentals & homes available to buy under rent-to-own or shared-equity arrangements.
Looking at the ban remaining on foreigners buying existing houses, Mr Parker said: “This will help first-homebuyers to get their foot on the property ladder.”
“It’s also a matter of values. We believe that, from the most expensive seaside & lakeside properties to the most modest homes in our towns & cities, New Zealanders should not be outbid by wealthier foreign buyers.”
Mr Parker said the bill, reported back to Parliament by the finance & expenditure select committee, would support the creation of new housing & the Government’s KiwiBuild policy by better harnessing foreign capital and directing it towards large residential developments.
If the current number of Singaporean buyers “materially” increases, the 2 countries have agreed to meet to discuss the cause of the increase and how to address it, if required.
More information can be found here:
Overseas Investment Amendment Bill, residential land changes
Screening of residential land: Questions & answers
Related story today: Minister optimistic about changes to foreigners’ forestry rights
Attribution: Ministerial release.