If you have a Legal Beagle account, you can log in by entering your Email and Password.

Can Foreigners Buy Land In New Zealand?

 

New Zealand may not be as large in land mass as many other countries, but we still have a lot of land ready for people to buy. This has led to an increase of interest from people overseas, asking whether they would be allowed to buy NZ land. If you are a foreign buyer or are looking to sell your property to someone from overseas, we can tell you what you need to know.

Who is considered to be a foreigner?

First of all we need to clarify what being a foreigner actually means. You are a foreigner if:

  • You are not a New Zealand citizen
  • You do not hold a residence class visa
  • You have not lived in NZ for the past 12 months and don’t intend on living here forever

Now we come to the answer to, can foreigners buy land in New Zealand?

Yes and no. Yes, a foreigner can generally buy land in New Zealand without needing the permission of the Overseas Investment Office. That means they could buy an existing house with a section in the middle of Auckland or Invercargill and everywhere in between. They could even buy an apartment or an entire small factory. Someone from overseas could also buy an empty section and build on it.  Except…

A foreigner or their company cannot buy ‘sensitive’ land in New Zealand without permission from the Overseas Investment Office because of the Overseas Investment Act 2005. Sensitive land has not been marked on any maps, nor is there any official record of it. Instead it will become sensitive land once the sale of the land begins to happen and there is some research done by either the purchaser or experts hired by the buyer.  Generally, sensitive land is:

  • Land which is  bigger than five hectares, such as a farm
  • Land which is bigger than 0.4 hectares and is right next door to a reserve or conservation area
  • Land which is bigger than 0.2 hectares and is right next to the foreshore

Any foreigner wishing to buy sensitive land needs to apply for written consent through the Overseas Investment Office. This will require a lot of land knowledge and legal help. So if you are not a NZ resident and want to buy a property in New Zealand, you will need to contact a lawyer who will be happy to help you out. 

Disclaimer: The information on this page is general information only and must not be relied on as legal advice. Legal Beagle is not a law firm or a substitute for a law firm. We are unable to provide any kind of advice, explanation, opinion, or recommendation about possible legal rights, remedies, defences, options, selection of legal documents or strategies. 

 

 

 

Join the Discussion

  • Jon-Paul Hale 25/05/2016 8:00am (3 years ago)

    Good article Claudia. Covers the right way to do it.

    Though doesn't touch on the way it is being done though trusts.

    With trusts not being registered we really don't know the extent of the foreign ownership situation as NZ residents operating trusts (both kiwis and immigrants now residents) for foreign money don't have clarity. The AML rules are not hard to comply with and once here can be used to buy property for the benefit of offshore individuals.

    I've noticed the media and political coverage have stayed away from this aspect, lack of clear proof I guess, because there is no register. Seeing people turn up at auctions with lists of names and budgets is a sign that this is happening. Local agent buyer and potentially trustee.

RSS feed for comments on this page | RSS feed for all comments

 

Freephone 06 881 9013

 



Legal Beagle is not a law firm or a substitute for a law firm. We are unable to provide any kind of advice, explanation, opinion, or recommendation about possible legal rights, remedies, defences, options, selection of legal documents or strategies.
Legal Beagle is a trading name of Automio Limited | © 2019 Legal Beagle