New Zealand bans foreigners from buying homes to arrest property prices

To arrest the rise in home prices, New Zealand banned wealthy foreigners from buying certain properties in the country. Expatriates from China and Australia living in New Zealand are the biggest property buyers. But Australia has been exempted from the ban which means New Zealand wants to rein in Chinese buyers. Singapore too will be exempted from the ban as the Lion City has a free trade agreement with New Zealand that allows foreign ownership. The parliament on Wednesday passed the law banning foreigners from buying existing homes in the country. Bringing down property prices was one of Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern’s election promises to voters who do not have a home. New Zealanders are sick of being tenants in their own land. With the passage of the bill, the government is making their dream home come true, said Associate Finance Minister David Parker said. But the real estate sector criticised the ban saying it will make little difference to house prices for families struggling to afford their first home. Earlier, the IMF had warned the government that the ban could discourage foreign direct investment needed to build new homes in the country. Only a quarter of adults in New Zealand have own home.