Housing Minister Nick Smith has revealed the Government holds
data on the proportion of New Zealand homes owned by offshore
buyers, which he says is very low compared to other
A lack of data has been one of the main reasons that the
National-led Government has given for rejecting calls from
the Opposition to create a register for foreign purchasers.
Data compiled by the IRD and released by the minister's
office this afternoon showed that 11 per cent of landlords of
New Zealand rental properties were based offshore, although
this figure included New Zealand expats.
The data was prepared for Finance Minister Bill English last
Dr Smith said he could not recall seeing it last year, but
read it in March or April.
He said: "[The information] shows that the ... levels of
overseas ownership of homes in New Zealand is small, that
it's having no substantial impact on the market, and that
making changes in that area are not going to have a material
A Treasury analysis of the data said it had its limitations,
but showed "the level of foreign ownership of New Zealand
housing remains relatively low".
The IRD held data on the number of non-resident individuals
reporting rental incomes or losses on New Zealand property.
It showed that out of 199,000 taxpayers who reported rental
tax returns, 11 per cent were non-residents and 1 per cent
were of unknown residency.
The briefing said it was important to note that the
"non-resident" category included New Zealand citizens who
The data did not distinguish between expat New Zealanders and
The non-resident category had been rising more quickly than
the resident category since 1997. However, this could be a
result of increased identification of previously unknown
"This is a blind alley that we could beat our chest and have
our officials do a whole lot of work [but] it's not an area
that will make housing more affordable for Kiwis," Dr Smith
Treasury also cited data collected by BNZ and the Real Estate
Institute of New Zealand, which estimated 8 per cent of
residential sales were going to offshore buyers.
The BNZ-REINZ survey said one of the main reasons that
offshore people were buying New Zealand property was because
they intended to live here.
Once these people were taken into account, the proportion of
buyers who were not planning to live in New Zealand was 3.6
Around 4.5 per cent of New Zealand property sales went to
Dr Smith said these figures were far lower than Australia,
where as much as 22 per cent of sales were by offshore
He said he could not recall whether he had requested the
"I get continuous briefings from my ministries all the time.
I'm up to my eyeballs in housing affordability, and this is
just one piece of information ..."
- By Isaac Davison of the NZ Herald