Whether you are looking for a house or an apartment, buying a property in New Zealand is a multi-step process that is also subject to certain regulations. Checking to see if you are eligible to purchase a property is your first step if you are a foreigner buying a property in New Zealand.
New Zealand has a diverse property market with various options such as apartments, houses, and rural properties. Property investment in NZ can be attractive to certain foreign entrepreneurs, however, our team will be able to guide you to see if you meet the aforementioned requirements for purchasing.
Talking to a property lawyer in Auckland from our team, or one of our agents based in other cities is a recommended step before you start the New Zealand property buying process. If you have other questions than those answered herein, please do not hesitate to reach out to our New Zealand law firm.
Who can buy property in New Zealand?
Foreigners can buy most types of property in New Zealand but need to meet certain criteria. The Overseas Investment Act sets the rules and, as a general regulation, overseas individuals cannot usually purchase a house or land in New Zealand.
The following categories of foreign nationals can buy property:
- New Zealand citizens and permanent residents who are “ordinarily residents”;
- Those who are not yet “ordinarily residents” but have a residence permit and have received the approval of the Overseas Investment Office;
- Australian or Singaporean citizens who are ordinarily residents and purchase certain categories of properties or land.
Individuals who cannot buy property in New Zealand are those who do not have any type of issued visa in their name and those who have a temporary visa (such as a visa for study, temporary work, or a visitor visa).
For the purpose of buying a property in New Zealand, a person is an ordinarily resident when:
- he has a residence class visa;
- has been living in New Zealand for at least 12 months before the intention to purchase the property;
- has been physically present in New Zealand for at least 183 days of the preceding 12 months;
- is a New Zealand tax resident.
If you want to buy property in the South Island, our property lawyers in Christchurch can answer your questions and guide you throughout the process. We invite you to watch a video on this topic:
What are the essential steps for buying a property in New Zealand?
If you are thinking of buying, the research phase is essential. Here are some of the most important steps you will need to take into account:
- Budget: you will need to have a clear understanding of what you can currently afford and what are your loan options and limits;
- Location: some of the cities with the highest potential for property investment in NZ are Auckland, Wellington, and Christchurch due to their growing economies and populations;
- Due diligence: if you are a foreigner buying property in New Zealand, we advise you to engage in a proper research phase, as well as conduct a thorough due diligence verification. This is an essential step, and one that will allow you to check if the desired property has any issues;
- Buying: this step will involve your lawyer, as well as the seller’s lawyer, and you will also need to receive approval for your finances (if applicable) before you can conclude the purchase.
If you choose to work with a real estate agent, you should know that this profession is regulated by the Real Estate Authority, and all agents are included in a public register.
When buying a property in New Zealand you will need to focus not only on your available budget, but other related expenses such as the fees for your property purchase consent application (if this is your case) and other expenses. Our accountants in New Zealand can answer any tax-related questions if you are interested.
Once you start looking for your property and need assistance in reviewing the purchase agreement (or for document vetting), our property lawyer in Auckland can assist you.
Our lawyers in New Zealand provide services to foreign nationals residing in the country who are ready to purchase a house, an apartment, or land. We offer services in the North Island through our real estate lawyers in Auckland, and also in the South Island through our property lawyers in Christchurch.
You can contact our law firm in New Zealand as soon as you decide that you are ready to buy a property.