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More overseas people selling than buying homes – Media release

1 May 2020

People who didn’t hold New Zealand citizenship or a resident visa sold or transferred more homes in New Zealand than they bought or acquired in the March 2020 quarter, Stats NZ said today.

“Overseas people sold twice as many homes as they bought in the March 2020 quarter, continuing a trend seen over the last year,” acting property statistics manager Dave Adair said.

“This is in stark contrast to two years ago when overseas people bought twice as many homes as they sold.”

We refer to the parties involved in home transfers as buyers and sellers for simplicity. Home transfers often involve a sale, but transfers may be due to other reasons such as marriage settlements or boundary changes.

In the year ended March 2020, fewer than 700 homes were transferred to people without NZ citizenship or resident visa, down from more than 2,900 in the year ended March 2019.

The number of transfers from overseas people remained relatively stable at almost 1,300 in the year to March 2020, with over 600 more sellers than buyers in the past 12 months.

The Overseas Investment Amendment Act 2018, which came into force in late 2018, prevents most people who don’t hold NZ citizenship or a resident visa from buying residential property in New Zealand.

“Overseas buyers accounted for 2 or 3 percent of home transfers prior to legislative changes that took effect in late 2018, cutting their share to 0.5 percent of home transfers in the year ended March 2020,” Mr Adair said.

Home transfers to overseas people relatively unchanged at 0.5 percent in March 2020 quarter

Transfers to people without NZ citizenship or a resident visa accounted for 0.5 percent (or 153 home transfers) of all home transfers in the March 2020 quarter. The proportion is relatively unchanged since the law change in late 2018. Typically, the total number of home transfers in March quarters is lower than other quarters, while they often peak in December quarters.

Text alternative for Home transfers by buyer citizenship or visa status, December 2017 to March 2020 quarters

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