From 22nd October 2018, the rules for Overseas people buying or building residential property in New Zealand have changed. Here is a summary to help you understand who is able to buy, and who needs to apply for consent.
Who is an Overseas person?
Anyone who is not a New Zealand citizen or is not ‘ordinarily resident’ in New Zealand, is an overseas person.The changes prevent certain overseas people from buying residential property in New Zealand. You can however apply for consent from the Overseas Investment Office.
How do I know if I am "Ordinarily Resident?
Ordinarily resident is a clear test of four parts – the person must
- Hold a Residence class visa
- must have lived in New Zealand for the past 12 months
- have been present in New Zealand for at least 183 days of the past 12 months
- Be a tax resident.
Australian and Singaporean citizens will not need to obtain consent to acquire residential land provided that the residential land is not sensitive for any other reason.
If you have a de facto partner or spouse who is a NZ Citizen or Resident (or meets other act requirements) this should mean you can buy, as long as it is a joint purchase.
Do these rules apply to all Property types?
The rules apply to land that is categorised as ‘residential’ or ‘lifestyle’ under the District Valuation Roll and while this includes most houses, flats, and apartments, there are also fairly large lifestyle blocks that are considered residential.
There are other opportunities for Overseas people to buy residential land but not live in it. This includes business and industrial purposes, and large developments. Click here for a government article with helpful information in this area.
How do I apply for consent?
You will need to consult a suitably qualified lawyer to apply for consent. They will assist you with making an application to the Overseas Investment Office. This is an expensive process with the current fees starting at $22,500!
As an Overseas person, will the banks give me a Mortgage?
If you are allowed to purchase residential property in New Zealand the banks will consider your application. Do be aware however there are rules around your qualification to borrow under general bank credit criteria. If your partner is a Citizen and you are not (so you can buy), there are lending rules that have to be met for your Visa class. We can help fully inform you of how this all works, and help tailor-make a fantastic mortgage for you!