Investor demand for new builds rises following Govt's targeted housing plan - property expert

The demand for new builds from property investors has increased following the Government's housing plan announcement, according to a Kiwi property expert.

The Government announced a raft of new measures on Tuesday in an attempt to crack down on property investors and help first-home buyers get a foot in the door in the superheated housing market.

Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern and Housing Minister Megan Woods announced the changes which include closing a tax loophole and extending the time investors need to hold on to homes to avoid a tax on their capital gains, called the bright-line test. 

However, part of the plan was to incentivise people to build new homes, so those investors will only get taxed on the profit if they sell within 10 years.

"That's really what we want people to do right now [build new homes], including if they're investors," Ardern said. "There'll always be a place for investors in the New Zealand housing market, we just really want to channel them towards those new builds because that'll make a big difference for all of us."

Talking to Magic Talk on Saturday, general manager for Harcourts Cooper & Co on Auckland's North Shore Rob Carter said he'd seen the plan's impact already.

"We saw a couple of changes," he said. "One investor purchased [a property] with the settlement day the next day being yesterday - which was to his advantage. 

"Another notable change was the increased demand for development property. Of course, some of the advantages of the new announcement favouring new builds. We definitely saw some increase in demand from developers looking to buy new builds with the belief that both the demand and the prices of those would be increasing."

Carter said it had been "a really interesting week" but he thought the full impact of the Government's changes would take time to show.

"I think New Zealanders were expecting and prepared for the changes to the housing policy. I haven't experienced major shock or notable market reaction following the announcement. I think potentially the adjustments will take some time to become apparent.

"The Government did not allow much time for a flurry. They announced it on Tuesday with the effects predominantly coming into force from today."

However, the housing announcement did anger some landlords.

One landlord suggested property investors should band together to evict their tenants on "the coldest day of the year" in protest of the new rules.

Others threatened to raise rents to cover the extra costs associated with the changes.

But Finance Minister Grant Roberston brushed off the comments while speaking to Newshub Nation on Saturday, saying rent prices are a product of supply and demand. 

"What happens with rents is a product of a number of factors, the demand and supply side, and we are moving to incentivise more supply. So that's why we're exempting new builds from the bright-line test extension and from the interest deductibility rule changes," he said.

"It's also affected by people's ability to pay as well. So we have to make sure that, you know, we keep an eye on what happens in the rental market."