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New Zealand “open For Business” For Build To Rent

Hon Chris Bishop, Associate Minister of Finance & Hon David Seymour, Associate Minister of Finance

Associate Finance Ministers David Seymour and Chris Bishop say overseas investment in Build To Rent housing will be welcomed in New Zealand under a new directive letter they have issued to Land Information New Zealand (LINZ), the regulator for the Overseas Investment Act.

Build To Rent (BTR) is a type of medium to high-density residential development, specifically built for long-term rental housing.

“The letter will give BTR developers confidence by setting out the government’s policy approach to overseas investment in BTR and clarifying the existing pathways available to investors,” Mr Bishop says

“New Zealand has a shortage of quality rental housing, which is exacerbating housing affordability issues.

“This directive recognises that Build To Rent has the potential to boost the supply of good quality and secure housing in New Zealand and could benefit from overseas capital to build at large-scale.

“A better performing housing market is all part of the Government’s plan to rebuild the economy and get it working for all Kiwis. It is only through a strong economy that we can solve the cost of living crisis, lift incomes and afford the public services Kiwis deserve.

“What we’re saying is, New Zealand is open for business for Build To Rent developments.”

The directive follows the announcement on 7 March that the Government will amend the Overseas Investment Act to provide a streamlined pathway for overseas investment in Build To Rent assets.

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“We are working to introduce a new consent pathway under the Act that will provide a streamlined process for overeas investors to purchase BTR assets.

“In the meantime, this letter directs the regulator to consider overseas investment in BTR, including for the purchase of existing assets, to be of ‘benefit to New Zealand’ when assessing applications, and clarifies the regulator’s approach to assessing applications under the ‘increased housing test’.”

“I am pleased the Ministerial directive letter can give investors more certainty while legislative changes are being made,” Mr Seymour says.

“If we want adequate housing for every New Zealander we need greater investment in housing. Increasing productive foreign investment is critical to growing the economy and improving the quality of life enjoyed by all New Zealanders. Overseas investors can also help fill key gaps in the housing market by providing large-scale institutional finance and expertise in the BTR sector.”

The BTR direction will supplement the previous Ministerial Directive Letter issued under the Overseas Investment Act 2005. The updated Directive Letter is in force from today, and all applications assessed by LINZ at, and from, this date will be subject to the updated directive letter.

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