The Overseas Investment Office (OIO) placed greater restrictions on who can buy property in New Zealand on 22 October 2018. Most overseas people are now unable to buy homes in New Zealand (regardless of whether they already own property here), but some can request consent from the OIO. This article only relates to the restrictions on who can buy a home in New Zealand to live in (i.e. residential land that is not otherwise sensitive land).
You don't need consent if:
- You are a New Zealand, Australian or Singaporean citizen; or
- You have a New Zealand, Australian or Singaporean Permanent Resident Visa and live in New Zealand; or
- You have a New Zealand Resident Visa and live in New Zealand.
To "live in New Zealand" means you must have been here for at least 12 months and you must have spent at least 183 days of the past 12 months in New Zealand.
If you meet the above criteria, you are required to sign a Residential Land Statement declaring your eligibility under the new OIO requirements.
You cannot buy a home to live in if:
- You have a Temporary Visa (e.g. visitor, student, working holiday or work visa); or
- You are any other type of overseas person.
If you are in this category you will not get consent from the OIO.
You must apply for consent from the OIO if:
- You have a New Zealand Permanent Resident Visa or Resident Visa and do not live in New Zealand; or
- You have an Australian or Singaporean Permanent Resident Visa and do not live in New Zealand.
You can download the application form online at https://www.linz.govt.nz/overseas-investment/information-for-buying-or-building-one-home-live and upload once completed with the appropriate supporting documentation and pay the consent fee ($2,040 for an individual or group of individuals, or $3,900 for companies, trusts, limited partnerships). This can be completed once you have found a home to buy, or you can get pre-approval if you have not yet chosen something to buy. OIO have advised that applications can take up to 10 working days to process. We suggest you allow for a longer timeframe, and will need to consider this when making an offer on a property.
To successfully obtain consent, you must declare that you are committed to living in New Zealand.
There are some exemptions to the consent requirements including the spouse or partner exemption. For example, if you are a couple who want to buy a family home to live in, and one of you is a New Zealand citizen and the other is not, then the spouse who is not a citizen is exempt from requiring consent.
You can do a quick eligibility check at: https://www.newzealandnow.govt.nz/living-in-nz/housing/buying-building.
The content of this article is intended to provide a general guide to the subject matter. Specialist advice should be sought about your specific circumstances.