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Speculators could shut out first home buyers

24 August 2008


Overseas speculators could shut out first home buyers

The Greens are calling on the Government to take action after a report that overseas buyers are swooping on the New Zealand property market, keeping out first time home buyers. "We believe land should be owned by New Zealand citizens and residents only and our laws should be changed to say that. We welcome ex-pats coming home and people coming to this country to live.

But why should we allow Singaporean, Australian or American speculators to buy investment properties in our country, shutting first time home buyers from the market?" Greens Co-Leader Russel Norman says.

The Herald on Sunday reported today that international buyers were "snatching up New Zealand property as the dollar drops, banks lower interest rates and the market reaches realistic prices". Alistair Helm of realestate.co.nz said that last year 22 per cent of realestate.co.nz's browsers were from outside New Zealand. This figure crept up to 25 per cent around April and May this year and was now up to 27 per cent. Meanwhile Auckland real estate agent

Ross Brader was quoted as saying properties he listed online started to attract record numbers of international browsers on August 10, when the Kiwi dollar dropped to the lowest level in 11 months.

Dr Norman said he was worried recent price drops in some areas and especially Auckland could be countered by overseas speculation.

"For some years property has been out of reach of most young New Zealanders trying to buy their first home, farm or lifestyle block.

"The Government has a responsibility first and foremost to ensure New Zealand citizens and residents can afford to buy a stake in their own country.

"If people from overseas wish to become New Zealand citizens or permanent residents then they are very welcome to buy land here. By restricting ownership to New Zealand residents and citizens, that would greatly help stabilise the property market and make ownership more attainable for those who live here."

ENDS

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