Overseas house buying activity mostly concentrated in Auckland, latest figures show

Overseas house buying activity mostly concentrated in Auckland, latest figures show

Overseas buyers accounted for 22% of the homes purchased in central Auckland's Waitemata Ward in the June quarter of this year, up from 19% in the March quarter, according to Statistics NZ.

The Waitemata Ward includes some of Auckland's most expensive suburbs, such as Grey Lynn, Ponsonby, Herne Bay, Parnell and the Gulf Islands, as well as the Central Business District and Newton where many smaller apartments of the type often occupied by students are located.

There was also significant overseas buyer activity in the Auckland suburbs of Upper Harbour 9.2%, Henderson-Massey 5.2%, Devonport-Takapuna 4.8%, Howick 8.2%, Hibiscus Coast-East Coast Bays 5.5% and Kaipatiki (Glenfield, Northcote, Birkenhead, Hillcrest, Beach Haven, Birkdale, Highbury) at 4.9%.

In the Auckland region as a whole, the share of homes sold to overseas buyers dropped to 6.5% in the June quarter, down from 7.3% in the March quarter.

Another area with high overseas buyer activity was Queenstown-Lakes District, where 5.2% of sales were to overseas buyers in the June quarter, down from 9.7% in the March quarter.

Throughout the entire country, 2.8% of sales in the June quarter were to overseas buyers, down from 3.3% in the March quarter.

However those numbers may significantly understate the level of overseas buying activity taking place because they exclude sales made to companies and other corporate entities, which made up 11% of sales in the June quarter.

"Information on the ownership of these corporates (by New Zealanders or overseas people) is not currently available," Statistics NZ said.

The figures also exclude sales made to trusts where at least one trustee is a New Zealand citizen.

That means a trust that was set up by an overseas buyer (the settlor) which had overseas trustees and overseas beneficiaries, would be counted as a local buyer if one of the trustees was a Zealand citizen.

And that trustee could a local accountant or lawyer working on behalf of an offshore client.

In the meantime, the Government's watered down version of the Overseas Investment Amendment Bill, which is intended to restrict purchases of residential property by overseas buyers, is slowly proceeding through the parliamentary process.

The Bill has been tabled to be discussed in Parliament next Wednesday and will come before the House for it's third and final reading some time in the following weeks.

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Money laundering is alive and kicking.


Oh that's fine, as long as it's just good old fashioned money laundering, I nearly got worried for a second that the plans to take NZ out of the Commonwealth were being pushed forward.

Juwai.com got it wrong. Hardly a stampede ahead of the ban now is it? https://list.juwai.com/press/2018/01/realtors-report-spike-of-interest-a...

Expect continued slippage after the ban takes effect.

Any commentary from Juwai is little more than a propaganda stunt.

Foreign Buyer influence on Market - Don't worry they've knackered London, Sydney, Vancouver, Toronto, Melbourne, New York etc etc so we're not alone but in pure and simple terms this is about cash injection on the margin by gamblers... it's happened everywhere but lets start with:


Bob sells his family home in Remuera to Mr Chan for $2,000,000 cold hard NZ dollars. Mr Chan gets a leg into the NZ market and has paid cash.. No one could get close to Mr Chan he just wanted out of China before the revolution.
Bob then uses the money from Mr Chan and buys in Hastings for $1,000,000 and another place in Queenstown for $1,000,000.
Jane (Bob's purchase in Hastings) buys a smaller place in Hastings for $600,000 and a buy to let in Wellington region for $400,000.
Derek (Jane's $600,000 purchase in Hastings) - downsizes in Hastings and buys house for $400,000 and puts $200,000 in the bank for retirement
Abigail (Jane's purchase in Wellington) moves into a nursing home and gives her kids $150,000 each to pay off some of their mortgage.
Trudy (Bob's purchase in Queenstown) - realises that this is all madness and sells to Bob and moves into rented to watch the carnage.
And without Mr Chan buying Bob's house for silly amounts of money ....... Well in pure and simple terms none of them are worth anywhere near what they think they are worth today as the banks can't plug the capital shortfall. Why else do you think John Key sold out when he did?
Hopefully that helps explain things

Its the low interest rates they drive asset price rises in other classes anyhow...but yes housing is going to immoliate!


Winston said 'The government's overseas buyers' ban' is to come in this month?


It would have, if it wasn't for the national folks delaying the process.

Must be buying time so their mates can offload their properties

I was thinking that Labour might not push this through until Jacinda is back at the helm. Wouldn't want Winnie getting all the O2 on this one.

No, at this stage it's the other members who will haggle over points that are niggly.

how true

These figures clearly show what a total "fake news" beat up this banning of foreign buyers really is.
With a questionable 2.8 % of all residential sales being to foreigners, their effect would be minimal to nothing on the overall market. Considering that Australians are the biggest buyers of NZ real estate but are not banned, then the whole exercise become pure xenophobic politics at its worst risking retaliation by other countires.


Big daddy you sound like a crying baby

Crying baby??
More like an arch cynic of the fake new poloitics.


I for one don't have a problem with China banning NZ citizens buying property there.
Oh wait a minute, we could never buy property there. That must make them more Xenophobic than us Big Daddy?


Then there is Singapore who has "pre-retaliated" with a 20% tax on foreign buyers (can't see any exemption for most favoured nation NZ?)


So, no problem putting the ban in place then eh?

As someone else pointed out here recently, people are aware it's not the only part of the problem in displacement of locally-born people. In their breakdown of recent figures for the Upper Harbour, nearly 50% of transactions had no NZ citizen on the buying side of the transaction. That's straight out population displacement.

Rick You’re Correct again
It’s outright kiwi joker displacement
However the good news is there’s plenty of places other than Shanghai South (which is what Auckland now is) no way I can buy the apartment I desired in the real Shanghai
Must be the CCP don’t see me as Chinese
even though I speak the language !
Face it kiwis resistance is futile
Just a thought why not use Singapore’s common sense policies for foreign buyers of kiwi homes ?
When I lived there in the 80s they had so many great education ideas also. That’s why they are a great tiny country. Plus Malaysia is outstanding across the border also but as usual I digress past bedtime Goodnight kiwiland

Oh that old 'xenophobia' chestnut....


*** All passengers ***
Please fasten your safety belts and put away your drinks....
Looks like there is a bit more turbulence ahead.
The left will cry and the right will be indignant
FHB's will wonder if this crap will ever end so that they can get a real shot at 'life' like all those before them..

Going to make some fresh popcorn.


Also note for the younger passengers. If you are skilled professionals and mobile, please unbuckle your seat belt and move west to one of Australia capital cities, where you can buy a nice 3 br apartments for the same price as 1.5 br apartments in Auckland.


"Look at the end of the day it is what it is, and what's most important is that people born at the right time are able to make bank by selling NZ out from under the next generations. LOL just made $10 million tax free on my house! #NoForeignBuyers #PayTaxesWorkingPlebs"


Prime Minister John Key has told a talkback audience in Auckland that non-Aucklanders have told him they would like to have more Chinese buyers in their regions to push up their house prices and wealth.

"The point is there is over 500,000 Aucklanders that own a home. They are significantly wealthier. I go around the rest of the country and people say to me 'Can we have a few of those Chinese buyers in Wellington and other parts of New Zealand because actually we want our house prices to go up'," he said.


God Bless him, talking up his legacy. It is certainly what I shall remember him for, he did stuff all else.

No I think he did more, he tried to look cool drinking steineys with the ABs, but instead he looked like a noter around cool big boys at school.

I didn't mind John Key initially, but he's ruined NZ and its all I'm going to remember plus the 20 mill he's made from ruining NZ. It reminds me of Fay and Richwhite who robbed NZ as well.


Lol. No wonder his party is in the doghouse

Good old Uncle John.

That smiley red faced gentleman must know that ANZ have a liquidity issue without hot foreign money to prop up all those hefty home loans and investment mortgages.. So, If ANZ are now wheeling him out to lobby against foreign buyer bill does that mean that the household debt issue in NZ is about to cause a major explosion in the economy.

Where's BLSH 'Property Clock' I'd love to hear how loud it's ticking?

Nah, it's from 2015 when he was Prime Minister. Sign of our success and all that.

He's got a point. Kiwi vendors could decide to only sell to kiwi buyers if they wanted to but it would potentially cost them with a lower sale price. There are two sides to a sale and the new policy will limit the market to a smaller pool of buyers which must impact on price. Economics 101.

Whether you support such a move will depend in many cases on whether it is to your detriment (sellers) or benefit (buyers).

You have enlightened me. Wow

Pointless to try

1) you'd get publicly shamed as racist, doubly so if the buyers happened to be NZ born third generation Asians.
2) Foreigners would just buy through an agent acting on behalf of a trust. The John Smith Trust #34, beneficiaries Mr and Mrs Chang.

I can't tell whether this is true or satire. That's probably the most concerning thing.


Nothing New or to be surprised.

All real estate agents are marketing and pushing to buy before the foreign buyer bill is passed and rightly so as they are rightfully exploiting the situation and also to be fair to foreign buyers, if they want to buy should be Now or never. SO WHY AND WHO IS SURPRISED.

If anyone has to be blame, it is the current government for delaying to give opportunity to all speculators and foreign buyers. MORE THE DELAY MORE THE OPPORTUNITY TO SPECULATORS AND FOREIGN BUYERS.

Minister had mentioned (last month) that will be passed and implimented in July but the truth is that government is having cold feet and are trying to delay as much as possible (Everyone knows that commitee process if want can run at Snail pace).

Even if the bill in the right spirit is passed in August(Also implimented) can give benefit of doubt to current government BUT know for sure that govt is trying to dilute and delay.


Money Laundering at Best.

Safe heaven = NZ

So, is the foreign buyers component of the Auckland market 3% or 20%? I see both figures being quoted.

3% or 20% depends - If you are National supporters with vested interest or Labour Supporters :)

hmm I think you could ask Canadians or British or Australians the same question. If you said 3% as a national average that would mean nothing to someone in London, Toronto, Vancouver, Melbourne, Sydney the list goes on. How many Chinese, sorry I mean foreign buyers, are buying in lower Nunavat, or Katherine Region in the Northern Territories, St Helens in England? I could probably count them on the fingers of one hand. Whereas in the major conurbations it's clearly a problem.


Coalition needs to get this implemented or they are dog food and will be on the opposition benches asap. I would clearly call out that people who voted for this legislation will not tolerate the rest of their Stalinist crap without this passing into law and being enforced. Does Winston want his legacy to be "all talk and no walk"

If Nationals and its sponsors (Chinese interests) are stalling, expose them in the media.

"Information on the ownership of these corporates (by New Zealanders or overseas people) is not currently available," Statistics NZ said.

If such crucial information is ambiguous/witheld/not forthcoming ( seems dodgy!),why not BY DEFAULT classify such purchases as "Foreign"? Then lets see whether the figure of an insignificant 3% foreign buyers can be sustained.

Seems to me vested interests at play in massaging the figures to prevent the true picture from being revealed.Remember they were powerful enough to even get IMF to lobby against the foreign buyer ban.Wonder whether IMF has made the same call to China!!

Greg recently wrote an article noting that David Parker claimed the foreign buyer ban would be law by the end of this month. Only four days to go.


Looks like you're on pins to have it in place. . Nice to see

I think it will happen by end of this month. However it won't be fast enough for this one though...I suspect it will be snapped up by a foreign buyer very soon. https://youtu.be/wFe6ykD8VZc

Very nice. Will go for $3.2M if I were to hazard a guess. Good thing it's concrete and not monolithic cladding!

They bought it last year for 3.36m so I'm not sure they'd be keen to take a $160k loss

The times conducive for quick flipping are gone. $160K plus $$ in legal and agent fees - smoked. Why sell so soon? Probably is monolithic!

I wouldn’t pay $3.35M if I had that sort of money. Would be interesting to see if they can turn a profit. One year is too short to expect to make money at this point in the cycle.

It’s concrete, not monolithic. Wouldn’t be worth close to $3M if it were.

It's concrete.
Built to last with solid concrete block walls and beautiful smooth plaster finish.


Also possibility that after passing the law may give window of opportunity to speculate by delaying the implementation date say October or September or...……..

Such law should be passed and implemented with immediate effect to avoid giving benefit to speculators.

Would be very funny if it simply said to Commence by Order in Council. Essentially means it will come into effect at some point in the future on a date of our choosing.

Most likely will have immediate effect though.

Jacindas changing nappies you’ll just have to wait a few more months


That is truly ridiculous not including trusts. Any overseas investor who's serious about distancing themselves from their assets and their NZ income will be using a trust.

Agree.. trusts and corporate entity's should be banned from purchasing residential property. Trusts are BS anyway, a bad NZ habit that has outlasted its usefulness.

Look, maaaaate, how many of those can there be? Bugger all I'd say!

Coupla percent of buyers goin' isn't gonna do a thing!

Family Trusts are often intended to hold family property assets for long term financial management (esp in retirement), but even then most the foreign buyers I knew in my areas set up a company, & trust to buy properties with. Even went on a trip to some of the SHAs in Auckland to inspect the building quality and saw literal tour buses doing the rounds at open homes with translators & real estate agents instructing them on the purchase process with a 3rd party org (trust, company etc). It boggled the mind but then again since it is standard even for the wealthy locals hardly anything unexpected. Strange they have left out considering the ownership & beneficiaries of trusts & companies in the ban as even setting up a company with a local go between is common. Seriously how stupid do they think the general public & those with financial literacy are? ... don't answer that one.

2,8% is all that this fuss is about ....Half of which could be Aussies, not sure if the Poms are excluded or not !!

If this CoLs ( or their puppets) think that banning less than 2% of purchases will crash or even dent the market, then they are truly the fools which most people think they are.

Most of these buyers are spending money on apartments in CBD or Mcmansions in Mt Eden and Remuera ... so really chalk and cheese when analysed in terms of market effect.

But , for the silly people who are dying to fill any promise no matter how effective it could be, this will be an achievement !

The Kindergarten moved from the Beehive out to the streets and the childish behaviours are spreading ... making us the laughing stock of the world.

Meanwhile, consumer sentiments keep declining, construction capacity is hampered by capacity and financial constraints, KB is years away ( if any) ...

Hey you're back, see that you can't help yourself.. is the therapist not helping

Oozlum Bird

You and Houseworks both seem to suffer the same short-sighted view of how 3% transactions multiply across the market and the effect that cash injection has on overall credit availability. I had to explain it (nice and simple) earlier, but it appears the message needs repeating.

Let me explain again. For every injection of cash, three, four, five maybe more transactions take place off the back off that initial transaction as the chain of events leads to others trading up and down the market. Remove them and you rely on good old average Kiwi Joe's and Jane's earning enough money to get a mortgage to buy a house.
You really have no idea how this ban will massively impact the market liquidity do you? Lets try and explain it as simply as I can.. let’s start with Bob.

Bob sells in Remuera to Mr Chan for $2,000,000 cold hard NZ dollars. Mr Chan gets a leg into the NZ market.
Bob uses the money from Mr Chan and buys in Hastings for $1,000,000 and another place in Queenstown for $1,000,000.
Jane (Bob's purchase in Hastings) buys a smaller place in Hastings for $600,000 and a buy to let in Wellington region for $400,000.
Derek (Jane's $600,000 purchase in Hastings) - downsizes in Hastings and buys house for $400,000 and puts $200,000 in the bank for retirement
Abigail (Jane's purchase in Wellington) moves into a nursing home and gives her kids $150,000 each to pay off some of their mortgage.
Trudy (Bob's purchase in Queenstown) - realises that this is all madness and sells to Bob and moves into rented to watch the carnage.
And without Mr Chan buying Bob's house....... Well in pure and simple terms none of them are worth anywhere near what they think they are worth today as the banks can't plug the capital shortfall. Why else do you think John Key sold out when he did?
Hopefully that helps explain things

And thus – the effect of the marginal buyer!

Another way to look at it.
A street of relatively OK houses (Auckland) – valued at $900,000 each on average.
Mr Chan comes to town with money to burn /hide or buy residency – what the heck, he just needs a ticket – an owner of one of the $900,000 shacks takes a punt - $1,200,000 – woohoo says Mr Chan – I’m in.
Now the banks value the whole street at $1,200,000 each – and that “free” equity is unleashed onto the rest of the market.
Multiply this Ponzi across Auckland and then spread its tentacles across the country – welcome to possibly NZ’s greatest folly – with apologies to the 80’s share market of course.
Thanks Mr Chan!

spot on Custard my good fellow.. I thought it was a good story so I added it further up the comment thread... It's no different to chains of linked transaction in the UK... No one moves until someone starts it off with an injection at the bottom.. A FHB/Investor?or wealthy foreign speculator.. everyone else can then move afterwards... The banks know it as well which is why John Key has been called to his soap box.. (In my view though he should be put in stocks in the high street to have eggs thrown at him - he knew what was happening)

And for those that question the 3% (or whatever the percentage is) – how are you going to feel if your (taxpayer) money is used to bail the banks out.
“Privatizing profits and socializing losses” – the marginal buyer is currently not a legitimate buyer in the normal sense.
So lets remove the foreign / marginal buyer - and here comes the quote:

“Note how the sudden disappearance of the marginal buyer can set off a vicious downwards chain reaction, as it exposes how far prices must fall to become affordable to the next marginal buyer. And, of course, in a correcting market, few want to attempt to catch a falling knife -- so the potential population of marginal buyers shrinks as they sit on the side-lines waiting for the carnage to abate.
That's the main point of this article: the marginal buyer can evaporate faster than you think. That is the nature of an asset bubble's unavoidable destiny to "pop".”


Thankfully only 1/3 of the households in the country have mortgages.. Average mortgage debt is $400,000 which is high but it could have got a lot worse...In some respects because a lot of kiwi's like their area and community and just got out-priced on trading near where they live many of us have not stretched ourselves (we couldn't anyway and feed the kids too). My guess is that most of the speculation is off-shore driven anyway and if investors get burnt.... they get burnt.... If you hold shares in Nokia and the rules change because Apple come along... That's just the way it is, you hold or sell (wouldn't want to hold too long in that instance) ... We're a country and if we change the rules.. Hell, That's just the way it is, you hold or sell... (wouldn't want to hold too long)

Fun times ahead.. I've got Kiwi kids.. 3 of them and they have almost a dozen home grown 5th generation cousins... I'd like them to stay here and have a start in their own country.. Call me old fashioned,

However 40% of the total debt is held by just 8% of the households (leveraged investors would be my guess) and at $666,666 each (the devils number twice) may not be as lucky as $888,888 I guess....

Good news is that there are still 66% of houses that can still trade debt free or can consider less than they may have planned, so what the numbers will be lower.... 33% however will have to see what happens to loan to value rates and their equity position.. , some will get trapped in negative equity but hey this could have been a lot worse,,,, we could have had another term of National with the blinkers on (and without the discourse that has already slowed foreign buying), believe me, this mess could have got a hell of a lot bigger.

It's manageable, there will still be a big correction in prices and a bit of pain ahead... but my guess it will be more aligned to the 8% that are bleating the loudest... And to be fair most of them can't construct a sentence so should have stuck to the horses and Pokies anyway..

Oh dear Nic – Dave’s just lost his job and his wife’s left him on $1,200,000 street – and he has to sell.
Bummer – Mr Chan has already bought and there’s no-one to replace him at the margin – all we have is a sad sack local that can only put an $800,000 offer together – Dave has to take it.
Mr Chan and his ilk are finding things tough going buying / hiding in NZ these days and are lying low – so $800,000 it is for “lucky” street.
But the banks have lent on $1,200,000 valuations – there’s 50 houses in the street with all that free equity now in question – that’s uncomfortable.
Time to reign in credit - business contracts - job losses result - mortgage or not - good luck!

Hey custard..

Forgot to ask - who is the quote from?


The Marginal Buyer Holds The Pin That Pops Every Asset Bubble
So it's important to watch him very closely.

You need to take your pills

One day you Kiwis will be tenants in your own country.

I'd disagree with that Bob.. I actually think that this is probably the one country in the world where the population and government will take a short term punch on the chin to make sure that this sell out doesn't happen to the next generation so they don't end up hospitalised.. I may be wrong but the Kiwi identity is something that is incredibly unique and while we have been sold out for the last decade for personal gains, which many thought was wonderful before seeing the side effects, I think that there are a very good number of commentators here (who recognise that it will cost them a few bob in the short term but care more about the next generation's future).... This is a very special place Bob... Undoubtedly there will be those that don't share the kiwi ethos, culture, character and history who will try and oppose it..and my guess is that they haven't a true grasp of what this place really is.... but let's see what the rest of the country decides (has already decided)...

question though, you're not the Bob from Remuera that I talked of earlier who sold out to Mr Chan are you? to try and buy in Hastings and Queenstown?

Sorry Nic but we stand already with a couple generations losing the safety of having secure housing & less financial stress. Rising mental health issues, state home demand, overcrowding and booms in respiratory diseases is now the norm. Nothing left to do but to pray we sort it out in time for the unborn future generations. Seriously when housing mortgage ads now become aspirational dreams which are considered as rare as a lottery win it is already too late for the last couple of generations, (and mine for that matter since the retirement housing crunch is a massive issue, the pension does not even cover rentals so chances are there will be far more retirees on the waitlist for state homes blocking those who truly need accessible homes instead of just any home they can flat with others in).

Houses still selling on the North Shore no problem, but the prices are down. Looks to me an average of about 10% looking at the dozen or so sold through Harcourts recently. Would not like to predict the outcome of the remainder of this year but I'm now out of the housing market.