New Zealand is to ban foreigners from buying existing homes as its new government attempts to improve the affordability of residential property.
Prime Minister-elect Jacinda Ardern told local media Tuesday that the ban will only apply to non-residents.
“Our goal and commitment is to ban foreign buyers from the existing housing market,” she said.
Arden, who will lead the country in a coalition with the New Zealand First Party and Green Party, added that the three parties were united in the policy.
“We have agreement on banning the purchase of existing homes by foreign buyers,” Ardern said, while also announcing plans to cut immigration.
New Zealand is facing a housing affordability crisis after a cocktail of low interest rates, limited stock and high net immigration has driven up prices.
According to an ANZ Bank estimate in February, the New Zealand housing shortage had reached 60,000 and was growing by 40 houses a day.
Formerly, U.S. investors were seen as putting upward pressure on New Zealand property prices but their interest has been dwarfed by a more recent influx of Chinese buyers.
Winston Peters, the leader of junior coalition party NZ First, flanked Ardern as she made her announcement. Nodding in agreement with the policy, he added that New Zealand is “no longer for sale.”
“The reality is there is going to be a change and a clear signal sent internationally that New Zealand is no longer for sale in the way it has been. We’re happy with that,” he said.
September data from the Real Institute of New Zealand (REINZ) showed the country’s largest city of Auckland had a median home price of $845,000 New Zealand dollars ($582,000). That figure is almost double the median reported by REINZ back in November 2008.
In the capital city of Wellington, the same data set revealed a 10.6 percent median price increase to $531,000 New Zealand dollars. The REINZ survey is based on actual sale price.
During the housing policy announcement, New Zealand’s next leader also revealed that she had received a phone call from U.S. President Donald Trump on Monday morning.
“The relationship with the U.S. is incredibly important and it will not change,” Ardern said.
Since the election results were published on October 13 the New Zealand dollar has fallen around 4 percent against the U.S. dollar.