In late October 2018, the Overseas Investment Amendment Bill came into effect. While the changes to the bill restrict certain overseas people from buying residential land and existing properties in New Zealand, there are still opportunities for overseas investors who want to buy residential land to build on, as well as for residence-class visa holders who don’t currently live in New Zealand but want to buy a home here.
Buying property in New Zealand
For most people, moving to a new country is an unsettling and daunting process. Understandably, part of feeling more settled is buying your own home. However, recent changes to the Overseas Amendment Act means it’s not as easy as it was in past years to buy property in New Zealand if you’re a new resident or if you’re resident living overseas.
Recent changes to the bill mean only residents and citizens of New Zealand can buy homes to live in. If you’re an Australian or Singaporean resident or citizen, you’re also exempt from the rules and can buy property to live in, in New Zealand.
If you hold a residence-class visa but you haven’t yet arrived in New Zealand or you’ve been in New Zealand for less than 183 days in the previous year, you will need to apply to the Overseas Investment Office (OIO) for consent to buy property, commit to living in New Zealand for at least 183 days in the following year, and be a tax resident.
Similarly, overseas investors wanting to buy land to build on, commercial property, or an existing apartment as an investment property – not to live in – will also need to apply for consent to purchase from the OIO.
Mortgage lending to new residents
If you are a new resident in New Zealand you won’t have a credit history here, so if you are considering applying for a mortgage you’ll need to show documentation from your home country for the following:
1. Your financial history – you’ll need at least three months’ worth of bank and loan statements showing your financial situation before you migrated. The bank may also require an international credit check to show any bad debts you left behind.
2. Your income – the bank will want to see that you earn enough to cover your loan repayments as well as your living expenses. If you have other income aside from your job, you’ll need some documentation to prove that.
3. Your assets – if you still own property or have investments and savings in your home country, you’ll need to have proof of these.
As the rules for non-resident property purchases and mortgage lending are complex, it’s worthwhile contacting a Mortgage Express adviser for advice to purchasing property in New Zealand. Depending on your situation, we may be able to connect you with lenders who will lend to new residents or residents living outside of New Zealand. But, as there are so few options available, it’s vital you talk to one of our advisers first.
While all care has been taken in the preparation of this publication, no warranty is given as to the accuracy of the information and no responsibility is taken by Mortgage Express Limited for any errors or omissions. This publication does not constitute personalised financial advice. It may not be relevant to individual circumstances. Nothing in this publication is, or should be taken as, an offer, invitation, or recommendation to buy, sell, or retain any investment in or make any deposit with any person. You should seek professional advice before taking any action in relation to the matters dealt within this publication.
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