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Calls for controls on foreign home buyers

Thursday 28 Feb 2013 6:20 p.m.

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Almost two-thirds of voters want restrictions placed on foreigners buying property in order to bring house prices down, according to the latest 3 News Reid Research poll.

Of the 200 people at an auction on Auckland’s North Shore today about half were Asian. Three houses sold in 20 minutes, all to Asians.

If the bidders aren't New Zealand residents or citizens, if they are foreign buyers - the Greens would like restrictions placed on them.

They say it's not racist; it's about controlling house prices.

“Most New Zealanders are not racist. They understand that it is simply people from overseas that are driving up the price of property,” says party co-leader Russel Norman.

Two-thirds of voters agree with the Greens.

Asked, if to make houses more affordable the Government should put restrictions in place to stop foreigners from buying up investment properties here, 63 percent said yes, 30 percent no and the rest didn't know.

Under law, in Australia non-residents cannot buy established dwellings as investment properties. The Greens want a similar ban here - at least on investment properties - but the Prime Minister won't go there.

“I don't think foreigners buying the odd house in New Zealand is what's driving the escalation of prices,” says John Key.

“There's quite a big difference between Shania Twain wandering in and buying a big property in Queenstown and whether a young couple can buy a $350,000 house in Auckland,” he says.

So a ban on foreigner buyers is popular with voters. Australia is doing it too. And with housing affordability such a big issue, you can expect to hear much more about from our politicians here.

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