New Zealand Haven Feeling Brunt of Investment Policy
Average asking prices for homes in the South Island’s Central Otago-Lakes District fell 19 percent to NZ$857,011 ($590,000) in November from the previous month after New Zealand implemented legislation restricting foreign ownership. New listings in the region -- whose property owners are reported to include hedge-fund pioneer Julian Robertson and Hong Kong-based financier Michael Nock -- fell 4.6 percent, according to a report released Monday by realestate.co.nz, the country’s most popular property website.
In October, 236 properties were listed for sale in the Central Otago-Lakes District, with an average asking price of more than NZ$1 million.
“It could be that, in the run-up to the new legislation, there was an influx of top-end properties that owners were eager to get across the sold line, or they were testing the market and would have been open to a sale at the right price, said Vanessa Taylor, a spokeswoman for the realty website. “Now that the foreign ownership window has largely been closed, they may well have sold the property or taken it off the market.”
Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern’s government implemented the Overseas Investment Amendment Bill on Oct. 22 after she campaigned on a foreign-buyer ban in last year’s election, saying overseas speculators had driven up house prices and made property unattainable for many young New Zealanders.
Prices have surged more than 60 percent in the past decade amid record immigration and a construction shortfall, driving home ownership to its lowest level since 1951.
The average asking price in the Auckland region was NZ$949,345 in November, 1.6 percent less than in October. There were 10,431 homes for sale in the country’s most-populous city, or 5 percent more than a year earlier. Nationally, asking prices for properties averaged NZ$653,575 last month, down 3.3 percent from October.
“While there has been some regional variances this year, nationally we have seen a relatively stable asking-price environment, with average asking prices sitting around the $650,000 mark during 2018,” Taylor said.
©2018 Bloomberg L.P.