Ban on foreign house buyers leaps forward

  • 13/12/2017
AUCKLAND, NEW ZEALAND - NOVEMBER 25:  Houses for sale and sold in central Auckland suburbs on November 25, 2015 in Auckland, New Zealand. The average house price in Auckland has risen by 70 per cent to 1.08 million in the last four year.  (Photo by Fiona Goodall/Getty Images)
Photo credit: File

Legislation that will ban foreigners from buying homes will be introduced to Parliament on Thursday and given its first reading next week.

The Government wants it passed into law in the first quarter of next year.

"Purchases of homes by offshore speculators push first home buyers and families out of the housing market," Housing Minister Phil Twyford said on Wednesday.

"This Bill will ensure that house prices are set by New Zealand-based buyers, not international buyers."

When the Bill is in law, only citizens and residents will able to buy existing houses.

Australians will be exempt.

Foreigners will be able to buy land and build a house.

The legislation will bring residential land within the category of sensitive land in the Overseas Investment Act.

The previous government said the ban couldn't be implemented because it would breach New Zealand's trade agreements, but the new Government has found a way.

However, the free trade agreement with Singapore will be affected and Mr Twyford said negotiations were underway to sort that out.

If it can't be resolved, Singapore could be exempted, he said.