Three percent of housing transfers go to overseas buyers

Three percent of housing transfers go to overseas buyers
Photo credit: Newshub

Just over three percent of housing transfers in the last financial quarter went to overseas buyers.

In the March 2018 quarter, 3.3 percent of housing transfers were to non-citizen or non-resident buyers according to Statistics NZ.

It's a slight rise from the December 2017 quarter which saw 2.9 percent of housing transfers go to overseas buyers.

Property statistics manager Melissa McKenzie said: "This increase was driven by a fall in the total number of transfers, and a small rise in the number of transfers to overseas people."

She said the Government announcing its move to ban overseas buyers could have been a factor in the increase.

There were close to 33,000 homes transferred in the March 2018 quarter, and almost four in five went to at least one New Zealand citizen.

The other one in five is made up of corporate entities, resident-visa holders and overseas buyers.

The figure includes not just housing sales but also family transfers after a homeowner has deceased, marriage settlements and administrative changes.

The Queenstown Lakes District had the highest proportion of overseas buyers within a territorial authority for that quarter, at 9.7 percent. This was followed by Auckland, with 7.3 percent of all transfers within the area going to overseas buyers.

After the Government took power last year its first announcement was a move to ban overseas buyers from purchasing existing houses in New Zealand.

The Overseas Investment Amendment Bill passed its first reading in December and it's now at Select Committee stage.

It will mean non-residents or non-citizens will not be able to purchase existing residential housing in New Zealand, with an exemption for Australian citizens.

The Government was advised the amendment would breach a trade agreement with Singapore, which it is negotiating but could result in a further exemption.