By Rebecca Howard
July 26 (BusinessDesk) - The number of home transfers to overseas buyers continued to fall in the June quarter, although inner Auckland homes garnered some interest.
There were 183 home transfers to people who didn’t hold NZ citizenship or a resident visa in the June 2019 quarter versus 1,116 in the same quarter last year. Total home transfers numbered 37,695 and of those 0.5 percent went to overseas buyers. A year earlier, total home transfers numbered 39,627 and 2.8 percent went to overseas buyers.
A ban on foreign buyers took effect from Oct. 22 last year and prevents most people who don’t hold NZ citizenship or a resident visa from buying residential property in New Zealand.
Under the revamped act, there are exemptions for those who buy new apartments in certain developments, who add to New Zealand’s housing supply, and for Australian and Singaporean citizens.
Stats NZ said a total of 939 home transfers were registered in Waitemata - inner city Auckland - in the June 2019 quarter, including 75 home transfers to people without NZ citizenship or a resident visa versus 321 in the June quarter last year.
However, "this is similar to the number of home transfers to overseas people in mid-2017, before changes were proposed to the Overseas Investment Act,” property statistics manager Melissa McKenzie said.
“Overseas buyers make up a much greater share of home transfers in the Auckland inner city than in New Zealand as a whole,” McKenzie said.
She noted, however, some of these buyers may have bought apartments off the plans before restrictions on overseas home buyers took effect. "These only show up in our statistics once the apartment is built," said McKenzie.
The second highest proportion of homes transferred to people who didn’t hold NZ citizenship or a resident visa was the Queenstown-Lakes district and involved 18 homes versus 27 a year earlier.
Regarding home transfers where the buyer's country of tax residence is taken into account, of the 37,695 in the June quarter, 93 were to tax residents of China only, down from 552 a year earlier.