Number of New Zealand home transfers to overseas buyers continues to fall

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WELLINGTON, July 26 (Xinhua) — The number of New Zealand home transfers to overseas buyers continued to fall in the June quarter, with 75 homes in central Auckland were transferred to overseas people in the quarter, the statistics department Stats NZ said on Friday.

A total of 939 home transfers were registered in Auckland inner city in the June quarter, including 75 home transfers to people without New Zealand citizenship or a resident visa, statistics showed.

Home transfers to overseas people in Auckland inner city peaked at 321 transfers, making up 22 percent of the total home transfers, in the June 2018 quarter, shortly before the Overseas Investment Amendment Act 2018 was passed, restricting the sale of residential land, Stats NZ said.

Of these, 153 homes were transferred to overseas people with Chinese tax residency in the June 2018 quarter, which fell to 48 in the June 2019 quarter, it added.

“Overseas buyers make up a much greater share of home transfers in the Auckland inner city than in New Zealand as a whole,” property statistics manager Melissa McKenzie said in a statement.

“Central Auckland home transfers to overseas people are down more than 70 percent compared with the peak last year. This is similar to the number of home transfers to overseas people in mid-2017, before changes were proposed to the Overseas Investment Act,” McKenzie said.

“It’s not surprising to still see some home transfers to overseas people in central Auckland, which is dominated by apartment buildings,” McKenzie said, adding they may have bought apartments off the plans before restrictions on overseas home buyers took effect.

The Overseas Investment Act, or a ban on foreign buyers, took effect from Oct. 22 last year and prevents most people who do not hold New Zealand citizenship or a resident visa from buying residential property in the country. However, it allows Australians and Singaporeans to purchase residential property in New Zealand, and other overseas people to purchase in some new developments.

Nationally, buyers without New Zealand citizenship or a resident visa accounted for only 0.5 percent of home transfers in the June quarter, down from 2.8 percent year-on-year, Stats NZ said.

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