Queenstown tops overseas buyer list

Statistics NZ has published property figures showing the Queenstown-Lakes district has the highest proportion of homes sold to people who didn't hold citizenship or resident visas in New Zealand.

It is the first time property figures showing the tax residency of those transferring property have been released by Stats NZ.

Nearly 33,000 homes changed hands across New Zealand in the quarter, of which just over 3% were to people who didn't hold New Zealand citizenship or resident visas.

More than 7% of Auckland homes sold or transferred in the first three months of the year were to overseas buyers.

Property statistics manager Melissa McKenzie said the proportion of overseas home buyers varied across Auckland.

"For example, it was 1.7% in Franklin and 19% in the inner city (Waitemata) in the March quarter," Ms McKenzie said. Overall, the figure for Auckland was 7.3%.

The area with the highest proportion of transfer to people who didn't hold citizenship or resident visas was Queenstown-Lakes district at 9.7%.

Nearly 10% of all home transfers were to corporate entities, for which information on the ownership isn't currently available, Stats NZ said.

Including homes, land, and commercial property, 4.3% of all property transfers involved at least one buyer with overseas tax residency, while tax residency status for a further 41 %of transfers was unknown.

Stats NZ took over responsibility for collating the data from Land Information after the old system was criticised by opposition parties who said it underestimated the number of foreign buyers.

In one of its first acts as the new government the Prime Minster Jacinda Ardern said she would ban foreign speculators from buying houses in New Zealand, arguing they're pushing first home buyers and families out of the market.

It means most overseas buyers who do not have a commitment to reside in New Zealand, will not be able to buy homes unless they build new houses on the land as well.

Stats NZ defines home transfers as the sale and purchase of houses, the transfer of a deceased family member's home, a marriage settlement and administrative changes.

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