Will the new laws affect my options for home buying in 2019?

In October 2018, some major changes occurred when legislation came into effect that changed the laws about who can purchase property in New Zealand.

The goal of the laws is to reduce housing prices to make buying a home more affordable for Kiwis. So do you need to worry if the new laws affect your home buying options in 2019? New Zealand Now has an in-depth article that goes into detail about various situations, but the short answer is that it depends on whether you are a citizen, resident, or visa holder.

Existing property owners aren’t affected by the new standards

The New Zealand government made it clear that although there are new restrictions in place for purchasing property. Anyone who bought property before the law went into effect still retains ownership. Fortunately, nobody needs to be prepared to get kicked out of their home regardless of whether or not they meet the new requirements.

Citizens and permanent residents don’t need to worry

As the purpose of the law is to reduce the cost of buying a home for New Zealanders, citizens aren’t affected by any of the recent changes. For residents, the same is true. Anyone who is ordinarily resident—someone who has lived in New Zealand for at least a year and spent at least 183 days in the country in the last year—can continue to buy property the same as always.

Some Resident Visa holders may not be able to buy property

For residents who have yet to meet the above conditions, it’s a bit more complicated. Residence class visa holders who aren’t ordinarily resident may still be able to purchase property, but are limited to what kinds of property they can buy and must obtain consent from the Overseas Investment Office (OIC). Generally, eligible residents are able to buy a single home in New Zealand to live in, but this can vary with more complex situations.

Can work visa holders still buy a home?

In general, work visa holders are considered to have the same restrictions as people without a visa under the new rules. This means that work or other non-resident visa holders won’t be able to purchase a home to live in. However, some other property investment opportunities are still possible with consent from the OIC depending on individual circumstances. Non-residents are still able to rent homes and apartments as before, as the new laws only address purchasing property.

What if I’m on a partnership visa?

If you are on a partnership visa or you have a partner included on your visa, only the primary applicant’s status pertains. For example, if you have residence visa and your partner has no visa, the rules for the residence visa will apply to both of you. This means that you would still be able to buy a home to live in. This makes it so that only one of you needs to qualify under the new rules in order to be eligible to buy. The difficult decision might be deciding whether it’s best to purchase an existing home or have a new one built!