Explaining property transfer statistics
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Explaining property transfer statistics

Who is buying property in New Zealand and
just how many of them are foreigners? Well, it depends how you define ‘foreigner’. In this video, I’ll introduce you to the
categories we use in our property transfer stats so you can decide for yourself. In 2018, most home transfers involved at least
one buyer with New Zealand citizenship – 79 percent to be exact. Another 8 percent of home transfers involved
a buyer with a resident visa, meaning they weren’t born in New Zealand, but are allowed
to stay here indefinitely. A further 10 percent of buyers were corporates,
for example companies, non-profits, or government departments. The remaining 2.6 percent of buyers didn’t
have New Zealand citizenship or a resident visa. We refer to this category as ‘overseas people’. Some of these people do actually live in New
Zealand, for example on a student or work visa, but they don’t have the right to stay
here indefinitely. This 2.6 percent equates to overseas people
buying almost 4,000 homes in New Zealand in 2018, out of 146,000 home transfers. This proportion is higher in certain parts
of the country, for example 6 percent in Queenstown and 17 percent in the Auckland inner city. These percentages may change in 2019, now
that amendments to the Overseas Investment Act have come into force, restricting the
sale of residential property to overseas people. It’s important to note these statistics
are about transfers, not sales. Transfers can involve a sale, but they can
also happen for a variety of other reasons, such as marriage settlements, boundary changes,
trustee changes, and changes in the share of ownership. The reason we produce statistics about transfers,
not sales, is that everyone involved in a property transfer has to complete one of these
– a land transfer tax statement. This is where the information about people’s
citizenship or visa status comes from. It also asks whether the transfer involves
a home. But it doesn’t collect any information specifically
about sales, or about the values of properties. And for corporates, it doesn’t ask whether
a company has overseas owners, which is why our statistics can’t currently provide this
information. Different people have different ideas of what
it means to be an overseas person. With these statistics, we’ve tried to use
definitions that are consistent with the Overseas Investment Act. We’ve also tried to give some insight into
the different types of people who are involved in New Zealand’s property market, so you
can come to your own conclusions.

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