Can You Buy Land in New Zealand? The Answer is ‘Yes’

Auckland City skylineNew Zealand is a small country, but its natural beauty makes it an ideal place to set up a home. You can buy or build a house here if you’re staying permanently or even for vacation purposes. As you plan your Kiwi dream house, note that there are some legal and important matters that need attending to.

1. Get Legal Advice First

Before proceeding, you need to get legal advice from the locals. For example, a property lawyer in Wellington can assist you to buy land in that area.

Their assistance is crucial, especially with the government’s move to ban foreigners from buying certain residential properties. You have to make sure that the land is not covered by the ban.

2. Consent from Overseas Investment Office

Foreigners need to get approval from the Overseas Investment Office (OIO) before proceeding with the sale. Kiwis and New Zealand resident visa holders, however, are exempted. Even companies are not required to get approval as long as the foreign ownership is less than 25%.

If you’re covered by the investment law, the local lawyer will help you go through the legal process. In the application, provide your personal information. You also need to include details about the land and for what purpose it will be used. Afterwards, you pay the application fee.

You will also need to get consent even if you bought the land through a New Zealand citizen or resident visa holder intermediary. This is an indirect sale, but since you’re registering it under your name, government approval is needed.

3. Types of Land That Require Consent

Foreigners need to find out if buying a specific tract of land is allowed by law. Consent from the OIO is required for these types of land:

  • Rural areas whose size is more than five hectares
  • Island properties
  • Beach-front property or next to the sea
  • Any property larger than 0.4 hectares and is next to a lake, park, or historical or sacred grounds.

4. Penalty

If you’re unsure about the land you want to buy, better inform the Investment Office first before making an offer to the seller. Make sure the sale is above board. The government will impose stiff penalties if you bought the land without consent. This includes paying fines and even imprisonment. They can also sell the land, and there’s nothing you can do about it.

Buying land in New Zealand is an attractive option for both locals and foreigners. The country’s law, however, instructs foreigners to get consent first before buying land there. Once the proposed sale gets approved, you’re recognised as the legitimate owner of the land.