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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:
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:
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.
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