More overseas people are selling their New Zealand properties than are buying them, according to the latest figures from Statistics NZ.
They show that in the June quarter of this year, 327 New Zealand homes were sold by overseas owners, while just 183 were purchased by overseas buyers.
That is a sharp turnaround from the situation in the second quarter of last year, when 1116 homes were purchased by overseas buyers and 492 were sold by overseas owners.
The reversal of the figures means there is now a net loss of overseas owners in New Zealand's housing stock, with more selling up than are buying.
The trend began in the first quarter of this year when 204 homes were purchased by overseas buyers and 327 were sold by overseas owners.
Prior to that overseas buyers outnumbered overseas sellers by a substantial margin.
The trigger for the change appears to have been the introduction of the Overseas Investment Amendment Act 2018 in October last year, which restricted the purchase of residential property in this country by overseas persons or entities such as companies or trusts when they have even partial overseas ownership or control.
The trend for overseas sellers to outnumber overseas buyers is a nationwide one, even in the Waitemata Ward of Auckland City, which includes the CBD and the leafy inner city fringe suburbs that surround it such as Freemans Bay, Parnell, Grafton, Grey Lynn, Ponsonby, Herne Bay and Westmere, where there has traditionally been the highest concentration of overseas buyers.
But in the first half of this year there was a net loss of overseas owners in the Waitemata Ward, with 113 properties purchased by overseas buyers and 150 sold by overseas owners in the first quarter, and 114 purchased by overseas buyers and 171 sold by overseas owners in the second quarter, giving a net loss of properties with overseas owners in both quarters.
Unfortunately the information on overseas ownership compiled by Statistics NZ is incomplete, because it does not include the ownership status of corporate entities such as companies when they buy or sell property.
Corporate entities are covered by the provisions of the Overseas Investment Amendment Act and according to Statistics NZ, they purchased 11% of the homes sold throughout the country in the second quarter of this year and 20% of the homes in Auckland's Waitemata ward.
But Statistics NZ does not have any figures on how many of those corporate entities may have been owned or controlled by overseas parties, so the true level of activity by overseas buyers and sellers in the New Zealand market remains a mystery.
Correction: An earlier version of this article stated that 20% of home sales in the second quarter of this year were to corporate entities. That figure should have been 11%. Corporate entities accounted for 20% of purchases in Auckland's Waitemata ward. Additionally, trusts are not counted as corporate entities. Whether trusts are counted as NZ or overseas buyers/sellers is determined by the domicile of their trustees.
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