Realtor owner calls for foreign buyer ban rethink

Comment follows a report revealing more foreign buyers selling than buying homes

Realtor owner calls for foreign buyer ban rethink

Derryn Mayne, owner of Century 21 New Zealand, is calling for a foreign buyer ban rethink as the COVID-19 pandemic continues to impact the housing market and more overseas people are selling rather than buying homes.

Statistics New Zealand’s latest data recently revealed that people without New Zealand citizenship or resident visa have sold or transferred more homes than they bought in the March 2020 quarter. Homes transferred to overseas people dropped from over 2,900 in the year ended March 2019 to fewer than 700 homes in the year ended March 2020.

Mayne said the introduction of the Overseas Investment Amendment Bill 2018 resulted in an 81% drop in sales to overseas buyers in the following quarter compared to the same time a year earlier. With the pandemic hitting various markets, the realtor owner suggested that the government should consider softening its foreign buyer ban even temporarily to boost the housing market.

“The government has given an assurance that no stone will be left unturned in its determination to mitigate COVID-19’s economic fall-out. As part of that, they should revisit their policy to ban foreign buyers. Opening up New Zealand real estate a little more, even temporarily, would definitely provide a boost to the housing market and country,” Mayne said.

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Mayne said many people in the industry remain confused as economists and other experts continue to analyse the impacts of the COVID-19 crisis on the property market, ending up in contradicting opinions.

“We have some saying it’s going to fall by double digits, while others are saying it should hold up relatively well given record-low interest rates and a continual housing shortage. All while buyers and vendors are wondering whether to act now or wait,” she said.

“Some observers were predicting a property crash a month ago. Now with the restrictions lifting and life starting to normalise, more commentators seem a little more positive in their outlook,” Mayne concluded.