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New Zealand government banned foreigners from buying houses

  • Author:Max Lin
  • Release on:2017-11-24

New Zealand is planning to ban foreign buyers from purchasing existing homes in an attempt to tackle a housing crisis by halting a trend among the world's wealthy to snap up property in the country.
The restrictions announced by the prime minister-designate, Jacinda Ardern, are likely to be closely watched by other countries around the world also facing housing shortages and price rises driven by foreign investors.
At 37, Ardern has become New Zealand's youngest leader for 150 years.
New Zealand has become a destination for Chinese, Australian and Asian buyers and has gained a reputation as a bolthole for the world's wealthy – who view it as a safe haven from a potential nuclear conflict, the rise of terrorism and civil unrest.
The country has become a hotspot for wealthy Americans seeking an escape from political upheaval elsewhere, who view it as a stable nation with robust laws and far from potential conflict zones.

Peter Thiel, the co-founder of PayPal and a Facebook board member and donor to Donald Trump's campaign, is among those to have purchased property in New Zealand.
Global financiers have been increasingly snapping up properties in the country. Speaking at the annual gathering of the world's elite in Davos, Robert Johnson, the president of the Institute for New Economic Thinking, said: "I know hedge-fund managers all over the world who are buying airstrips and farms in places like New Zealand because they think they need a getaway."
Reports by Bloomberg and the New Yorker have suggested dozens of Silicon Valley futurists are secretly preparing for doomsday, acquiring boltholes in the country.
Jack Ma, the man behind Alibaba, China's answer to Amazon and its richest man, is also reported to have shown interest in buying a home there.
Land sales to foreign buyers are booming in New Zealand, with 465,863 hectares bought in 2016, an almost sixfold increase on the year before. That is the equivalent to 3.2% of farmland in a country of 4.7 million people.
Despite this apparent boom, official statistics show that of the 48,603 property transfers registered by the government in the three months to June, just 3% were buyers with an overseas tax residency.
The bulk of those buyers were Chinese mainlanders, followed by Australians. Tax residents of the UK, US and Hong Kong were also among the biggest buyers of property.

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