Foreign buyers minimal in NZ housing market

Foreign buyers minimal in NZ housing market

Only a fraction of those in the New Zealand property market are made up of foreign buyers according to new government data.

Information released by Land Information Minister Louise Upston shows initial data from the Government's property tax measures indicate overseas tax resident buyers are behind 2 to 3 percent of New Zealand property transfers.

Over the six months from March 31, 97,800 property transfers of all kinds were registered with Land Information New Zealand.

Of those:

Of the remaining transfers, buyers declared an overseas tax residency for just below 3 percent in the March quarter. For half of transfers, buyers only gave a New Zealand tax residency.

"While we can't read too much into just two quarters, it indicates that overseas tax residents are behind a relatively small proportion of property transfers," Ms Upston says.

"The data for the first three months, in particular, was skewed by the number of transfers exempt because a contract existed before October 1, but was settled after that date."

Opposition parties have gone hard on attacking foreign buyers as a reason for driving up prices in Auckland's housing market. The big part of Labour's answer to Auckland's housing crisis has been to crack down on foreign speculators buying homes and allegedly locking out first-home buyers.

The Government has been insisting the influence of foreign buyers on the market is minimal.

In October last year, Inland Revenue began collecting information on who has been buying property. Foreign buyers have had to get an IRD number and New Zealand bank account, and hand over their tax number in their home country.

Prime Minister John Key has been adamant the solution to Auckland's housing woes is more supply rather than anything else, but has said he's open to a land tax as an option.

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