LINZ says 3% of home, farm and business buyers nationally were foreign tax residents in March qtr; 4% of buyers in Auckland were overseas tax residents; figure may be understated as portion of students and temporary workers said they were NZ tax residents

LINZ says 3% of home, farm and business buyers nationally were foreign tax residents in March qtr; 4% of buyers in Auckland were overseas tax residents; figure may be understated as portion of students and temporary workers said they were NZ tax residents
LINZ CEO Peter Mersi explaining the data in a 1 hour news conference, where he admitted considering not releasing it because of its many flaws in its earliest iterations.

By Bernard Hickey

Land Information New Zealand (LINZ) has released its first set of data on foreign buyers of houses and other property, but uncertainties about the data suggest the 3% figure for overseas buyers in the March quarter understates the figure for current sales. LINZ even considered not releasing the figures because of their doubts about the early reliability and accuracy regarding what proportion of sales were to foreign residents.

"We didn't release the first quarter data because I didn't have sufficient confidence in it. While there are still some questions about this data, my view was that if we hadn't released I think there would have been calls for a conspiracy theory that LINZ was doing something that it shouldn't have been," CEO Peter Mersi told a news conference.

"So I made the call that we put the data out and explain it as we have. So it is not comprehensive - in other words there's still the 10% (of exempt deals) and not all the people are responding as we would have liked, but broadly I think it is still helpful, and adds some insight," he said.

LINZ reported that 3% of buyers of homes, farms and businesses in the March quarter identified themselves as overseas tax residents, but that number excludes foreign students and those on temporary work visas who identified themselves as New Zealand tax residents. The number also excludes properties bought by trusts and 10% of purchases that were exempt because the transactions started before the October 1 introduction of the new disclosure rules.

LINZ said 4% of buyers of property and businesses in Auckland were foreign tax residents in the March quarter, but also cautioned the survey that collected the data had not properly categorised those buyers who may have been students or on temporary work visas.

The data showed that China was the biggest source of overseas tax residents, with 321 buyers listing themselves as having a Chinese tax residency, ahead of Australia with 312 and the UK on 99.

It could be 3% or 48%

Most of those buyers from China bought in Auckland, where there were 276 buyers in the first quarter from China. There were 45 Australian buyers in Auckland in the quarter and 24 from the UK.

LINZ included a question in its survey which attempted to work out which buyers may be tax residents in New Zealand, but may not have been permanent residents or citizens. This group included those in New Zealand for an extended period on student work visas or on temporary work visas. The survey found 24% of house buyers said they were on work or student visas and planned to live in the house, but LINZ said the survey results were inflated by permanent New Zealand residents and citizens who mistakenly thought the question applied to them. There were a further 11% who said they were a student or on a temporary visa and did not live in the house.

LINZ said it believed the survey results on whether buyers were students or temporary workers were also skewed because 35% of those who said they were on temporary or student visas said the home they bought was their main home, which would not be technically possibly if they were here temporarily.

LINZ said it was redesigning the survey question and was likely to have fresh data for the September quarter which correctly identified which of the New Zealand tax residents were foreign students or people in New Zealand on temporary work visas.

The June quarter and September quarter data would also have 'washed out' the skewing results of the grandfathering effects of transactions started before October 1 but included in the settled transactions in the March quarter. This category made up 10% of transactions nationally in the first quarter and 14% of Auckland transactions.

Technically, the combination of the 3% declared foreign tax residents, 35% who said they were students or on temporary visas, and the 10% of exempt transcactions mean the foreign buyers percentage could be as high as 48%. Or it could be just 3% -- the caveats make it difficult to know.

Mersi cautioned against reading the data without taking into account the flawed survey results on temporary residents and large percentage of transactions exempted from the data in the initial six months of data as deals started before October 1 are excluded.


Land Information Minister Louise Upston said the results were in line with the Government's expectations, "but it's early days."

She said the Government would look at the picture over the next 12 to 18 months as it considered its housing policy. She also cautioned against calling the data a foreign buyers' register.

Labour Housing Spokesman Phil Twyford, who has released data from Barfoot and Thompson showing the percentage of buyers in Auckland with Chinese names from February to April last year was 39.5%, described the data as selective and ineffective.

Twyford said it did not give an accurate picture because it was collected at a time when overseas buyers had temporarily deserted the market to arrange their IRD numbers and bank accounts.

“For most of the six months this information was collected, the Auckland housing market was in a temporary lull. Most analysts attributed this to the new requirement for foreign buyers to register with the Inland Revenue and the Chinese Government’s crackdown on illegal financial transfers out of China," Twyford said, adding the figures also excluded trusts and businesses.

“As a contribution to the housing debate, this data is effectively useless," he said.

“The fact that this data is so limited and the Government has selectively released parts of it, underlines the need for a proper searchable register of foreign property ownership – as is the policy in Australia and the United Kingdom."

Green Co-Leader Metiria Turei said the LINZ data gave nowhere near a full picture on how many non-resident buyers had bought New Zealand homes.

“New Zealanders desperately need the Government to collect definitive information on the number of non-resident foreign housing speculators operating in New Zealand, and the Government has let us down," Turei said.

“LINZ has admitted that this data is far from perfect. Businesses, trusts, and some student and work visas are exempt – that’s a whole lot of missing data," Turei said.

"This incomplete data seemingly suits the Government, but it’s going to make New Zealanders even more frustrated because it feels like we’re still in the dark over this issue. The reality is that any house sold to a non-resident foreign speculator is a house that a New Zealander can’t buy," she said, adding the Government should ban non-resident buying of homes and impose a capital gains tax on every property except the family home.

More detail from LINZ is available here.

(Updated with more detail, new picture, reaction)

We welcome your help to improve our coverage of this issue. Any examples or experiences to relate? Any links to other news, data or research to shed more light on this? Any insight or views on what might happen next or what should happen next? Any errors to correct?

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Why do the figures not include foreign students and those on temporary work visas?

If you're here on a work (or student) visa then you are, by definition, tax resident. Since the figure is based purely on tax residency presumably they don't have the granularity to extract student and work visa numbers.


They were buying homes. More pertinent this looks like a money laundering process. Were the registered owner the student or temporary worker or were thy someone else? A bit like the so called student in Oz who spent millions buying homes.

Be more precise. "Looks like...." is not good enough. Better to say something like the following: "the opportunity is there for studs / temp workers to be conduits for money laundering and not be identified by the tax authorities."

Next you'll be suggesting hearsay, prejudice and conjecture aren't forms of evidence!

It's 35% and there is no serious explanation of why 35% of all purchases are by students or short term visas. So in total 38% of all land sales in NZ, are to overseas buyers.

Even if it is "only" 4% that is still overseas investors buying 1 in 25 houses. That's 8 in a street of 200 houses. Why should we let foreign investors make youngsters tenants in their own country?

It's not 4% it's a minimum of 38%, stop being so friggin stupid!

Question: Why don't we allow students and working visa workers to buy a house?

Question: Why don't we allow students and working visa workers to buy a house?


That's why there was a time delay between Key's land tax comments and the release. They had to figure out a credible way of making these figures more reasonable. Of course they know the number on student and work visas as this needs to be declared when applying for an IRD number

You've hit the nail on the head there.

I'm wondering if anyone read the article?

gee so labour were right chinese are the biggest overseas buyers, SHHH be called a racist now.
how big was the number before the IRD requirements come in if we have 4% now in auckland after it
also what benefits do NZ get from non tax residents buying 1000 existing auckland houses, nutty policy


The thing the media (stuff, herald, tvnz etc) won't comment on is the net buying patterns. The Australians are net sellers while China buys 3-4x what they sell. Then there is the problem that the land values are not even mentioned. Lies and statistics.

Cool, now that we've got the blame game distraction out of the picture can we get some tougher restrictions on all Auckland property investors?

Read the report again...........

I think the headline, sideswiped everyone, obviously I'm impressed.

This is higher than I expected, considering the rules that came into place. Also it looks like they have done it for the entire country rather than just Auckland, which is where the actual problem is. So is just Auckland closer to 5-10%. Also you have overseas students and family studying here which may not be covered by these stats. Even 3% of the housing that NZers can't buy, is a significant amount of houses, considering we aren't building enough to restock supply. Statistics can also be used by either side when you get spin doctors involved. But whatever the case, I think that even at 3%, it is having an impact on house prices in Auckland.

If 3% of a sales go to foreign buyers and say 2% of them don't rent the houses so they sit empty then that's a lot of houses. At 2-3% each year that could mean a lot of houses are taken out of circulation for 2 or more years.

As someone pointed out below its primarily local investors sucking up the supply. Although the real problem we have is a lack of data on this issue. Hard to understand without quality statistics.

I agree. What annoys me is this storys headline , which says 'only 3%' , like that is a small number, and these crude stats are supposed to pacify any further discussion about this topic, as it is 'only 3%' .

They must be mis-quoting, pretty sure it says "39.5%" had Chinese names ...

Also says that companies and trusts are excluded. We've got 3% non tax resident buyers, and a lot of unknowns in the area of NZ-registered companies, proxies etc.

It's a start. And if it turns out that it really is locals frenziedly trying to out-debt each other, that isn't particularly reassuring either.

I had a feeling this might be the case. Overseas investors being a scapegoat for what is a flawed system favouring domestic property investors. I really hope Wheeler sees sense and helps create an even playing field for Kiwis.

So all along it was the boomers. And they blamed the Chinese. Real classy NZ.

It was the one armed man I tell you!

I think youll find it was the people who dont own blaming anyone they can shake a stick at.

So just accept that 'the price is set at the margin' and those extra foreign buyers (less any foreign sellers) cause price rises and if they abandon the market in the future the falls will also be exaggerated.
No matter the numbers, the market would reflect real demand without them.
What happens to the properties?
I suggest:
Some will remain empty awaiting infrequent visits or development.
Some will be occupied by genuine(or bogus) students.
Most will probably be rented out.
All of the above will further upset the investor to home buyer ratio and further aggravate a worsening situation as Govt/Council moves fail to build enough units.

".. the percentage of buyers in Auckland with Chinese names .."

So this is the standard to which the debate had descended?

Even if your family has been in NZ since the days of the gold rush you get treated as a foreigner. Trump would approve of this.

To at least mix it up a bit I vote we change it from 'Chinese sounding names' to 'asian style haircuts'.

The figures are difficult to collect, as they'd not include someone who just moved here from overseas and bought a house using their foreign income. Or, the grandparents own the house in their names (which is apparently pretty common for chinese to dump their elderly for the NZ health system to pick up the tab).

Whatever the case, the govt should limit immigration or people from countries who require visas to work here. John Key won't though because he enjoys the value of his property portfolio increasing.


Sadly the results are quite meaningless without knowing how many Trusts with foreign Trustees & benefactors have purchased property as this would be the preferred Buying structure and also not knowing foreign students purchasers. The 3% simply represent the minority of foreigners who don't know how to best buy Property in NZ

Even if the figures are hazy they prove that foreigners are not buying up NZ wholesale and that the vast majority of buyers are NZ residents,.
As usual the great unwashed will read them anyway they want no matter what.
This will not be a subject based on logic.
This will be a subject based on race, xenophobia, agendas, conspiracy theories and anti government.
Throughout history revolutions, wars and injustices have been based on illogical judgements.
with history being written by the victors.

Just to doubly sure BigDaddy why don't we search the bags of anyone leaving the country for Asia for hidden land and housing?

Really? How can a resident have a student or temporary visa?

The foreign buyer conversation is so last year. The crack down on capital flight from China and the IRD number and bank account requirements have seen to that. The recent action has been driven by the local investor.

It is such a relief to finally be able to have an informed discussion about what to do about domestic investors.


So is the department as stupid as it looks over this questionaire or did they deliberately ask stupid confusing questions so the government minister's can kick the can down the road for another three months.

And revealed ... the first quarter results, Q4:2015 were deliberately withheld

'The numbers exclude trusts'
Does anyone have any idea as to how often property purchases are typically made by Trusts?
For investment purposes (as opposed to owner occupied) wouldn't it be quite high?
In which case, the real number is likely to be much higher than 4%

Now no argument. Greedy boomers and X are buying up large.

Did RBNZ residential property debt funding stats suggest otherwise?

Driving misguided sentiment is a strong anglo-saxon narcissism that believes its proverbial lacks scent (i.e. can't be us), distracting us from looking within. Finally we can see the wolves in sheep clothing but are we willing to do anything about it. If you're after a cohort to lynch, go grey

I'd be interested to know what proportion of inheritance money handed down from 80 year old to 60 year old ends up in property to subsidize offspring retirement. I suggest this surplus windfall is easily gambled

LINZ included a question in its survey which attempted to work out which buyers may be tax residents in New Zealand, but may not have been permanent residents or citizens. This group included those in New Zealand for an extended period on student work visas or on temporary work visas. The survey found 24% of house buyers said they were on work or student visas, but LINZ said the survey results were inflated by permanent New Zealand residents and citizens who mistakenly thought the question applied to them"

WTF? Who designed and programmed the survey? Any basic consumer survey would ensure that you can only select "on work or student visa" or "permanent citizen or resident." The survey would not proceed. Another alternative is to remove those who answered both from the survey results.

If Colmar Brunton or Nielsen ran this research, they shouldn't be paid.


Taking the 4% Auckland figure at face value , one of the policy ideas floated is the Aussie one where foreigners need to invest in new builds. Potentially that would result in 4% more new builds and 4% more of the existing stock available to resident buyers. This has always seemed like a sensible win/win policy and ive never understood why it hasn't been implemented, given the extraordinary circumstances in Auckland. As Basil Brush points out above the price is set at the margins.

The cost of new sections on the far outskirts of Auckland are absolutely insane. I dont think new builds are going to solve the price issue until land bankers get their wings clipped. Landholders are making out like bandits from the uplift from rezoning.

Worst offender is the hobsonville land company. 550k+ for a 220sqm sliver on the edge of Auckland. Ludicrous.

The unitary plan should help a lot. Wisespread intensification will markedly reduce scarcity of development opportunity and therefore speculation

Been hearing out the unitary plan for five years. Will probably hear about it for another five years with nothing much happening.

I disagree. I work in the development sector and have good contacts at senior official levels in Govt.
The decision by Council will be made by August.
If the decision isn't the 'right one' , the govt will be in in a jiffy. I'm 90% sure it will be finalised within the next year, at the absolute latest.

Something changing is always a year or two away though isn't it.


Why are so few able to see past the LINZ headline with more spin on it than a table tennis serve, correctly analyze this and see it is just so much incomplete and perforated dross for the mass consumption and appeasement of the deluded? sigh.......

Is it true people like me, born and bred Kiwi who is a tax non resident is also considered a foreign buyer and in that 3%, if so then a large part of that 3% are kiwis living overseas like me buying property either as a primary home, holiday Bach or heaven forbid an investment property?

So you work overseas and the money you syphon out of that foreign economy is smuggled back to NZ and stored in the form of a housing investment that might be rented out to someone who needs somewhere to live?

how does NOT being a NZ tax resident and owning property here contribute to NZ what benefit does it bring to NZ
if rented are you paying any tax at all, which contributes towards our infrastructure and services, or is it neg geared with the funds going towards interest payments in a Australia bank.
even if you are born and bred unless you are willing to contribute to NZ by being a tax payer I can not see what advantage we that live here have in allowing you to own property here

Maybe it's not about you. Maybe he is just thinking about moving back to live here one day. Or just likes taking holidays here.

that's the point, I'm born and bred live here and contribute towards others and building of infrastructure and services for those that live here in my taxes. meanwhile others have left no longer contribute but when they come back either on holiday or to live want to enjoy the infrastructure and services we have paid for and built.
I don't have a problem with that as long as if they want to own properties in NZ whilst away they contribute as well, that's where I agree with a land tax for non NZ tax residents whether they are kiwis or from elseware

Don't be so short sighted, I pay council rates, insurances, mortgages which help pay the salaries of kiwis, I pay handymen to fix my places up including plumbing, electrics and gardening...including GST, and you are saying I am not contributing? And where do you think the money comes from to put down the deposits and pay down the principal, it comes from overseas hence sending in cash from a taxed overseas salary...So what you are really saying is, we should close shop in NZ, put up a fortress wall, accept no more foreign money and basically live off the land of NZ, catch some snapper and stop trading internationally....sounds like a bl**dy good plan to me.

you left out one thing do you pay any tax to the NZ government to help fund our schools, roads, hospitals,
As for your mortgages paying for kiwis lol more likely the interest paid which flows offshore outweighs you deposits over the life of the loan 4 to 1 so you are sucking money out off your country of birth for your so therefore you should be paying a land tax to contribute to NZ

yes I pay NZ taxes and by the sounds of it you are probably not earning in the top NZ tax bracket so not fully contributing as much as you could...

lol don't worry about me I have a very good tax accountant, And i actually make a lot of money of the great indebted that want to loan to there eyeballs and buy rental properties. As the saying goes the bank always wins

So buy a house and stop whining if you are doing so good. If you have a good tax accountant Im sure he has advised you of that already.

Lol I own my house debt free and paid cash for it, have never had to borrow and no did not inherit. They are plenty of ways to build wealth without borrowing buying rental homes and sucking offf the local population you are a mortgage broker complaining about people buying houses...and admit to not paying the top tax bracket....nice one.

I call BS

"it could be 3% or 48%,". Say no more...

Chinese buyers of Auckland property outweigh Australian buyers of Auckland property by 6:1
However, on a national basis they aren't that far apart

So I guess the next step to slow down the Auckland property market once the further restrictions of the LTV will probably not have much effect, will be to introduce Stamp Duty and reinforce CGT for Investors?

But if Auckland property prices still continue to go up far and above the million plus mark, in the next few months then I'm guessing the figures may be wrong?

3% is really low. It looks like B&T and John Key were right after all!
Phil Twyford = my data is based on counting Chinese-sounding surnames and is more reliable than official data

The NZ Herald says it differently
60 per cent of Auckland houses sold to foreign buyers went to Chinese investors.

If I didn't know better I might say our noble, and Australian owned, media were purposely inflaming prejudice to sell newspapers.

But that. of course, could never be - so grab your tin hat and baked beans boys, last one into the bunker is a roasted goose!

I did laugh when I saw that. The 3% fact is buried at the very end. That doesn't fit into the whole "home truths" series so they spin it to get readers frothing at the mouth. Absolutely pathetic.


"The survey found 24% of house buyers said they were on work or student visas." Don't the headline writers think that's a funny result. At least it's a result that makes the 3% headline ludicrous.

How sure are they that the 24% is wrong? And exactly how wrong is it? Has anybody tracked down a copy of the questionnaire so we can have a gawk at the question for ourselves?

Edit: tracked down LINZ Land Transfer Tax Statement, available as PDF. Is this the survey they're talking about? Hasn't been specified in any of the news stories, which is very unhelpful. If this is the survey, I don't see why this question was thought to have been so confusing.

This link will give you the full report and the questions.

Thanks much.

The way this is being presented in the media does not inspire confidence in its accuracy.

It's a very poorly designed q'aire. I work with research and crap like that should have never made it to publication.

"The survey found 24% of house buyers said they were on work or student visas." How can any student afford purchase a home, especially in Auckland? Shouldn't that throw up a red flag as to likely money laundering activities??


Great! Not only has this proved there's not vast swathes of foreign buyers- but also proves there's no affordability crisis - just look at all those students able to buy million dollar auckland housing!

I've had a look at the report for January - March period..
Comments / question:

- Pages 11/12: Q2.1 “Are you or a member of your immediate family a New Zealand citizen or a holder of either a resident, work or student visa?” Yes/No"

So 97% answered 'yes'. But we have no idea out of that 97% how many are NZ citizens OR foreign investors who have children here on study. I've met a few students over the years whose parents owned property here but were living in somewhere like Hong Kong. This shows a fundamental weakness in this report. Who knows, there could be a mini industry here based on:

- Ma and Pa are in Hong Kong
- Dorothy is a second year commerce student that went to last 2 years of High School in Auckland
- Dorothy has helped Ma and Pa buy 3 Auckland Properties in the 3 years she has been living and studying in Auckland
-Ma and Pa are in the 97% because whilst they are Hong Kong based their 'immediate family member' (ie. their daughter) is here on a student visa


My conclusion: the jury is still totally out till they improve the survey!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

This information is collected by lawyers at time of settlement of the sale i.e. The sales that settled in Jan/Feb will mostly have taken place in Nov/Dec which was a time when foreign buyers withdrew from the market as they weighed up the impact of the new rules and waited forever for an IRD number. So highly likely that the second quarter will see a different picture emerge. If the number of sales being knocked down to Asian buyers in the Barfoot auction rooms over the last 6 weeks is any indication maybe the real issue Twyford should have addressed is that NZ has simply allowed too many migrants in over the last five years and now they are each buying multiple investment properties and apparently often leaving them vacant.

Well, it's a good point, and I presume recent immigrants may be 'fronting' property transactions but there may be foreign investment monies behind it all.
Question - can someone please remind what the threshold for 'investor category' of immigrant is? If it is quite high as it must be then there is every likelihood that there 'wealthy immigrants' will be pumping money into property.


Disappointing to say the least -

Shoddy work by LINZ to produce such meaningless data after six months (and needing further extra time to evaluate) - and then to not be able to explain any of their data in any useful way.

And, as expected perhaps, the Minister saying it would take 12 to 18 more months for the government to look at this aspect of the housing situation.

Just checked:
Investor Plus category - $10 million invested over three years
Investor category -$1.5 million invested over 4 years
From what I can see ( I could be wrong) it doesn't have to be investment in a productive business ie. it can be in property

Yes investment property is counted as a "business" and this is why so many migrants obtain almost "instant" residency status by diving in and buying multiple properties. This is the real story

yeah, I really do think this is the 'real story'
Just found some stats, about 1500 approvals for investor category between 2011-2015.
Let's assume 1200 settle in Auckland
there will be a cumulative effect - if half of these are active in property investment then that, over say 10 years, could be quite a lot of activity

yeah, I really do think this is the 'real story'
Just found some stats, about 1500 approvals for investor category between 2011-2015.
Let's assume 1200 settle in Auckland
there will be a cumulative effect - if half of these are active in property investment then that, over say 10 years, could be quite a lot of activity

Follow on question is how many immigrants are coming in every year in the Investor category.
If several thousand are coming into Auckland every year, and the investment can be housing,then that could be having a massive effect

Spot on Fritz - and once you get residency the grandparents can come in automatically and obtain residency no questions asked

Holy crap - 3-4% is higher than the polling of some parties e.g. Conservatives; United Future; Act NZ

The 3% is just the comfy number for the headlines; its massaged to the point of irrelevance. Its like I recently heard quoted..' if you torture data long enough it will confess whatever you want it to....!'

She said the Government would look at the picture over the next 12 to 18 months as it considered its housing policy. She also cautioned against calling the data a foreign buyers' register.

Does this mean another 12 to 18 months on

Sounds like another government agency Bullied by the government to deliver the message they wanted. Sounds like the question were designed by someone that had no idea what they were doing. The most important task they have had in a decade and they screwed it up.LINZ head should resign. Absolute failure.

It means no action until the next election.

She said the Government would look at the picture over the next 12 to 18 months as it considered its housing policy. She also cautioned against calling the data a foreign buyers' register.

Does this mean another 12 to 18 months of

Sounds like another government agency Bullied by the government to deliver the message they wanted. Sounds like the question were designed by someone that had no idea what they were doing. The most important task they have had in a decade and they screwed it up.LINZ head should resign. Absolute failure.

Also its not how many buyers are foreign, but how many houses each they buy. Maybe 10% of buyers are foreign, but 30% of sales may be accounted for by this cohort. Lies, dammed lies and Statistics. We need a NZ Shadow Stats..


Correct offcut2 - why is this government so keen on filling Auckland with migrants when the infrastructure cannot support this. What is the benefit of allowing easy residency through investment property purchases totaling $1.5m as the criteria for entry. John Key and his buddies are really screwing up this city!

I've always been a fan of some immigration, but the numbers have just become too great cumulatively. The roads have become ridiculously congested in Auckland, and the house prices mad. It's time to cut back on the immigrant numbers.

So if it's not Asian investors Phil Twyford should now start a register of baby boomer investor sounding names.Winkle all those evil Gavins and Felicitys out of hiding and line them up against the wall.

you would be lining up a lot of our MP's as well

If that doesn't work too then perhaps a register for gen X sounding names.

Anyway we are a one trick pony now; we have no economy without the overseas tourists/buyers propping us up. Maybe we should just let the National Party get on with selling whatever they can and enjoy the temporary wealth it delivers...

Well up to 48% of everything, seems like selling whatever they can, to me at least.

Here is the Land Transfer Tax Statement that lawyers must supply to LINZ on settlement of a sale

What other questions should they be asking?

wow Q2 cuts out a lot from becoming overseas owners just by having a child here studying, talk about construct a form to hide something,

It's just possible ( straws, grasp) the requirement to register may have fixed the overseas speculator problem

Does this mean that local investors will now be targeted as they are preventing first home buyers from accessing the market. The so called land tax on foreigners would be ineffective. Perhaps we should do what Australia and UK are doing and put a STAMP duty on all investor purchases of existing homes (local and foreign).

Time for action. Talk is cheap.

better to hit the banks, make them hold a LOT more capital for investor loans that would force investor loan interest rates up whilst leaving OO alone.
second either take away interest rate deductions or allow for all.


The main conclusion I draw from this, is that most people are DAF can't read, and thats the way we like it.
There is no way the 35% who declared they are here on a student, or temporary visa, can be anything but foreign.

I admit to always being skeptical of foreign influence on NZ property markets, but the data shows it. We are getting sold out, the good stuff is probably all gone, all under the benevolent gaze of the illustrious John Key.

I was pretty sure Bernard Hickey would be outraged by this sort of thing, but he surprised me.

35% plus investor category immigration plus whatever's been bought via NZ companies and trusts. Anyone anywhere with a credit card and about $160 can set up a NZ company, so that's hardly a formidable barrier. That's a huge percentage of buyers who aren't citizens or permanent residents. Huge.

It's like they wanted to come out of this with completely useless and obfuscatory data.

Theres the housing shortage, a shortage for the foreigners who are buying up en-mass!

Lets go with the thought that JK would like us to believe, ie overseas buyers, especially from China are such an insignificant number that they have no bearing on the market.

Then it begs the question as to why our medium multiple house price to income ratio is so high?

After all, the Aussies have admitted the significant effect foreign buyers are having on their high medium multiple (which is similar to ours). IE they are admitting that demand is an issue.

JK is now saying demand from foreigners is not at issue, according to these stats, so it must be more a lack of supply issue.

And yet Nick Smith lately announced how well we were going with supply.

No demand issue, no supply issue. We have gone from Godzone to the Twilight Zone.

100 sellers + 97 buyers = buyers market. 100 sellers + 100 buyers = evleebody veelly happy. 103 buyers + 100 sellers = sellers market and foreign buyers veely happy.

Per the article

"Building and Housing Minister Nick Smith doesn't think the number of ghost houses is rising, and there is no way of knowing how many of Auckland's 22,000 unoccupied properties are being deliberately left empty"

Seems like 4% may not be the real story

Nick Smith couldn't count his balls.

Yes, this turd was referring to Syria in the Fitch Global Housing and Mortgage Outlook. Nobody in parliament had the gall or knowledge to challenge him.

Cause he has none? Couldn't resist..

Just looked at some more immigration data. Actually the numbers of approvals has not really increased much at all over the last 5 years, apart from student category.
But with not enough building, no doubt the demand side has really increased on a compounding basis, without enough supply.
Kiwis coming back, and fewer leaving must be a big factor in the net migration gains. But surely that should mean they reduce the non-kiwi approvals to balance out?

Seems our very own Bernhard has another take on the stats...'very-under-reported'

He said the 3 percent number was "a very sketchy beginning".

Mr Hickey said the actual figure for foreigners buying homes here could be anywhere between 3 and 48 percent.

"Thirty-five percent of the buyers of homes said they were foreign students or had temporary work visas," he said.


The government really believe the Kiwi public are idiots to put these numbers out.

Well well well the report really is bad.
That 35% stat is fascinating.
The question ISN'T whether you are on a student visa - it is whether you have a member of your immediate family that is on a student visa. That is a TOTALLY different thing!
But that certainly implies foreign ownership.

What is the definition of 'main home'? Could a foreign investor have a 'main home'? Yes, if it's their 'main home' in NZ (and perhaps where their student child is residing)
But LINZ are saying the questions were misinterpreted and answered by kiwis???
Really? Wow, what a shambles. Who knows the truth based on this?
It's either obfustication, or incompetent survey design....

Perhaps govt saw the '35% of buyers are on student and temporary visas' figure and decided that they couldn't possibly release that without being strung up from lampposts.

Good old main stream media didn't even mention the 35% thing, so key got what he wanted, more false propaganda out there.
It's interesting having a government whose lifeblood is propaganda, and good old Hosking on Blue TVNZ was out there accusing anyone that's concerned about it as xenopobic, which is pretty priceless given the consistent anti Maori commentary that frequently comes from his narrow little mind.

If 35% of buyers are really people on student and temporary visas, that's outrageously high. Terrifyingly high. And if they're genuine students (so far as that's even a thing, with the proliferation of fake language schools and fake computer schools) then the likelihood is that they're buying on behalf of somebody else.

We have fewer restrictions on foreign buyers than Australia, so you'd reasonably expect us to have more, and the rate in Australia is estimated as 15-20%, isn't it?

Pure propaganda sleight-of-hand. Average man on the street is thinking in terms of citizenship status, but numbers released are tax residency status, average man on the street sees figure of 3%, assumes it refers to non-citizens.

Do you think the rape of the N .Z economy is a) quite low ?
b) quite high ?
c) about right ?


B just check the flow of funds out of NZ year by year, our debt private and government

LINZ has been jkd. Sloppy, useless info 'at the end of the day'


These are the questions in the survey that are quoted on page 11 of the report:

 Q1.1 “Does the transfer involve land that has a home on it?” Yes/No
 Q2.1 “Are you or a member of your immediate family a New Zealand citizen or a holder of either a
resident, work or student visa?” Yes/No
 Q2.2 “If you are a buyer and you or a member of your immediate family hold a work or student visa, do you or a member of your immediate family intend living on the land?” Yes/No/Not Applicable

Q2.2 is the critical one. Basically, those answering yes to this should be foreign based buyers who have family in NZ on a work or student visa. This wouldn't apply to most NZ based buyers, because if they are NZ based then usually children wouldn't be here on work or student visas. Kiwis should answer this as non-applicable. So, 35% answered yes or no to this. Which if the question was answered correctly would mean that 35% (or close to that, allowing for maybe some rare situations where residents may have bought but have children here on student or work visas) of all buyers were foreign. Now LINZ seem to be saying that the question was not answered correctly by an awful lot of people. The automatic thought is that the questions was confusing, but is it really? I don't think it's too bad, you would have to be pretty dumb to be a kiwi and answer 'yes' to that (rather than not applicable) So that would mean an awful lot of kiwi buyers are dumb... OR maybe an awful lot of the buyers don't have English as their first language?
If the data really is faulty because of a lot of incorrect approaches to answering the questions, they shouldn't have released the bloody thing!!!! useless bureaucrats!

Question 2.1 should have been split to each type not lumped on together that would have given a true picture I.e tick the box
Are you a citizen
Are you a resident
Are you on a work permit
Are you on a student visa

Yes. So 'other' would be ticked by off shore investors who don't have citizenship or residency.

The way question 1 was worded, it would be correctly answered 'yes' by overseas investors who don't have residency or citizenship but have children who do (ie. are in NZ on student or work visas).
As Bernard alludes to, the numbers of overseas investors could potentially be way higher than 3% (or 4% in Auckland) as the report and most of the mainstream media coverage suggests.
Again, it's a really poor report that just shouldn't have been released.

They are terribly written questions. You have to wonder if they actually tested them to make sure people wouldn't be confused.. Q2.1 is confusing, and no wonder they 'think' people incorrectly filled it out. It really makes you wonder what is going on...

Despite all the raving about these bad statistics and how they were arrived at, these are now 'facts' cos I read them on the interweb or in my local rag.

Hopefully I can find some of those misplaced suitcases of cash mentioned below - off on my suitcase hunt tomorrow!

What? Of course the agencies responsible for collecting data consulted Statistics they're the experts!

Only three per cent of property buyers are overseas, new data shows

"Economist Shamubeel Eaqub said fears about foreign property buyers "with suitcases of cash" were misplaced in February.

Fears that New Zealand is being sold off to foreigners are a myth, according to new research.

Data collected by Land Information New Zealand (LINZ) shows just three per cent of homes were sold to overseas residents in the first three months of 2016.

LINZ chief executive Peter Mersi said the information would help Inland Revenue ensure people met their tax obligations.

ha, usual PC statement from Eaqub. He seems to think that any discussion around more tightly regulating foreign investment or immigration is xenophobic. Maybe he's had some bad racial abuse or something. He seems very sensitive to it.
Twyford for PM? That guy talks a lot of sense

Yes, well he is probably more sensitive to racial typecasting than your average suburban Pakeha.

Been following Twyford with serious interest. Seems genuinely angry and passionate over this than any other politician at the moment. I respect that.
To be honest I'm not even sure I care anymore about how we got here. I probably should and I know it's important but at some point I think im going to have to sit back, breathe and accept It's too late.

Question 2 has 4 questions in one lol

What a joke. It is as if they designed it such to show the lowest percentage of foreign buyers as possible.

National government so slippery likely would havə cleared the questions before LINZ published. Surely they could have broken it down further.wonder how many attempts it took to come up with q2. Genius

Linz chief executive per the LINZ website
Peter Mersi
Peter has been with LINZ since September 2012. He has worked in the public sector for most of his career, with the exception of a short period with the Bank of New Zealand.

Before joining LINZ, Peter was the Deputy Commissioner for Business Transformation at Inland Revenue. He also served for six months as the Acting Chief Executive of the Department of Internal Affairs. Prior to this, Peter was a Deputy Secretary at Treasury.

Peter has a Bachelor of Commerce and Administration degree in Economics from Victoria University, Wellington."

You would think with his degree and work experience he could have come up with a better questionnaire. Imagine if the census was like that. Are you over 40 or under 40 ? Yes or no

Waste of tax payer money. Either he didn't bother to check it or he did and did a poor job. Either way he is not fit for the job.

I am sure he did it so poorly on purpose because his political masters are not interested in the truth coming out.

There is a huge difference in being a resident for taxation and for immigration purposes. Most people filling the survey probably did not even understand that. Secondly, people dodging tax in their home countries of course rather file themselves as tax liable in NZ, as NZ has no CGT whereas their home country probably does.

You are right. A frivolous waste of our money, designed to mislead the public.

The average person would have to think long and hard about what "immediate family" includes

That question should have included "do you speak English"

The issue is not the actual survey, it's the fact that you are asking a nation that has been oppressed by their government and that they don't trust that government (capital flight) to please fill in this form and be truthful about it, and by the way, we as a foreign government promise not to share it with your government that you are trying to hide your money from. You can fiddle with the questions all you like, the data will always be BS!

Went to Barfoot and Thompson Thursday auctions on the North Shore a few weeks ago. Well I'll be damned, I'd say 85 to 95% of the faces in the room were of Asian decent (Chinese). Snapping up properties and paying top dollar.... 4%, I don't think so!!! Also a successful real estate agent friend of mine on the shore says 95% of the properties he sells go to Chinese. He says they are "big in the market".... I'm sick of it!!!!!

I heard this morning linz are going to redesign the form.
not sure who told them to or why, MSM have been hopeless again not checking or digging or they would have been reporting bigtime on the flaw of Q2
knowing linz it will be just as bad, they should run classes how to make the simple seem complicated

35% of house buyers in first quarter were foreign students or on a temporary work visa - see Bernard interviewed here - so what percentage of these foreign students or temporary work visa people are Asian? How many are acting on behalf of parents offshore?

Wonder what will Shambles Equab make of the 35% foreign students buying up our houses?

Double post

so if you add that to the 3% that makes 40%.
hello MSM do some digging and stop parroting what our leader says.
that's a terrible figure and backs up what people see in auction rooms

Not too much critical digging over at the Herald. Lightweights....

and 10% of the sales were made pre October and settled in the first quarter so are not relevant

So Twyford was right - 39% had Asian names and the data now proves it - whether or not they were offshore is irrelevant.

Keep in mind too that the data is collected by lawyers - they run through the form with their clients and complete it then lodge with LINZ so unlikely there were any misunderstandings when completing the form.

Very good point - you should make this a separate news item on your site

As usual academics, analysts, and policy makers have got together to decide the threshold and failed. Why would you use tax resident? Anyone can declare tax residency. I can come in and be a tax resident the next day providing I state I intend to stay here.

When wanting to check foreign buyers it should have been simple - if you are not a citizen then you are foreign.

I would also like to see some other questions answered like -
Why are Companies buying residential property?
Why are trusts buying residential property?
I have my suspicions over the answers, but that would be another post.

Final thing I have noticed, and may actually mean the stats are right - at least in New Plymouth. A lot of the 4 bed x 2 bathroom houses in new sub-divisions are being bought up by the first round of retiring boomers. Not for investment, but for their main home. Main reasons seem to be
- They have worked all life and want something nice and low maintenance to retire in.
- The kids/grandkids likely live out of town, so they want extra rooms/space for when they come to stay.

Essentially NZ is hitting a cultural change around the way houses are distributed. Retirees are no longer downsizing - rather they are upsizing/modernising. You have two people living in what should be a family house. Further to this they are often away on holidays/in their campervan, leaving the house empty for vast chunks of the year (so it is not all foreign absentee owners).

Labour Housing Spokesman Phil Twyford, who released data from Barfoots showing the percentage of buyers in Auckland with Chinese names from February to April last year was 39.5%, has been proved 100% correct - 4% offshore and 35% foreign students or those with temporary work visas - that's who is buying our homes. This explains why so many of the buyers in the Barfoots rooms look quite young.

English said it shows foreigners aren't the biggest problem for our housing market.

"The big issue though is there's a lot of demand. Most of it's from New Zealanders overwhelmingly and the market needs to supply enough houses to meet that demand."

How come our low wage economy is awash with cash?

One word- Rubbish.

Why has it taken this long to even start to get any data ? had they started 5 years ago it would have painted a totally different picture, but no they start getting the data after the Chinese money has stopped flooding out and IRD rules have been put into place to slow it all down. Sorry but your fooling nobody who has been to auction rooms or even to on site auctions.

I hope this findings did not come at the expense of the tax payer. The result give only a small percentage what it actually is? What a waste of time, money. Do it properly and start again. What about a citizen who has 10 properties under his name and payments for deposits for houses is coming into his account from overseas to pay for the houses. He puts the houses under his name but they are for other people overseas. How is this picked up in the picture? Then he buys and sell secretly as per his customer and send the money back and gets his cut. Does anyone track transactions in and out of the country if an account is quite active?

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