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Living Overseas and Planning to Buy a House in New Zealand - Mortlock McCormack Law | Property and Commercial Law | Christchurch, New Zealand
Living Overseas and Planning to Buy a House in New Zealand - Mortlock McCormack Law | Property and Commercial Law | Christchurch, New Zealand
Living Overseas and Planning to Buy a House in New Zealand - Mortlock McCormack Law | Property and Commercial Law | Christchurch, New Zealand
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Living Overseas and Planning to Buy a House in New Zealand

December 2020

Sarah Manning

We have many clients who live overseas but own property in New Zealand. With the changes to the Overseas Investment Act ("OIA") which came into force in 2018, there can be some confusion whether the OIA rules apply, and given the hefty fines for getting it wrong, our advice is to be clear on your position before you commit to purchasing the property.

If you are:

  • A New Zealand, Australian or Singaporean citizen; or
  • A holder of a "permanent resident" visa; or
  • A holder of a New Zealand "resident class" visa AND you are an "ordinary resident" in New Zealandthen you will be able to purchase residential property in this country.

You will be required to sign a document confirming that you meet one of the above criteria as part of your purchase process.

If you are a New Zealand citizen living overseas and wish to buy an investment property, then the fact that you are not living in New Zealand will not count against you - there is a hot market for investment properties at the moment, with Kiwis who are currently living in all parts of the globe keen to invest in the New Zealand property market.

One question we are asked from time to time is whether the spouse or partner of a New Zealand citizen is required to obtain consent under the OIA in order to join their New Zealand spouse in ownership of a property where the spouse is not a New Zealand resident. The answer is no, because under the OIA there is a "spouse or partner" exemption, meaning that the non-New Zealander can "piggyback" off their New Zealand spouse or partner, provided the couple are buying "relationship property".

The law in this area is complicated, with many variables, so if you have any questions or concerns please contact us - we can assist you with the whole conveyancing process, from start to finish, contact Sarah Manning, Partner (DDI 03 343 8456 / sarahm@mmlaw.co.nz).