Foreign ownership limits wanted

CATHERINE HARRIS
Last updated 14:41 18/06/2014

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Nearly two thirds of property investors in a recent survey felt there should be some limits on foreign ownership of New Zealand property.

The survey, by Auckland property managers Crockers, found a quarter had no issues with foreign property investment but 60 per cent thought there should be some form of restriction.

Fourteen per cent were completely opposed, and 1 per cent did not know.

Crockers said opinions varied over different types of property, with 70 per cent of respondents comfortable about foreigners holding commercial buildings.

"Generally there was a much higher acceptance of foreign investors buying commercial properties, and to a lesser extent apartments," the report said.

In contrast, 58 per cent were happy with foreigners owning apartments, and only 43 per cent were comfortable about them owning townhouses and 40 per cent for suburban houses.

One in five did not know what type of property was acceptable for foreigners to buy.

The survey was conducted in early May and when asked about legislation on foreign property ownership, 64 per cent wanted the Government to include the issue in the recent Budget.

"Clearly these people will have been disappointed with the Budget that ensued," Crockers said.

Labour's election policy proposes that non-residents, who are often blamed for driving up Auckland house prices, be banned from buying existing houses.

However, there has been some debate over whether New Zealand should follow Australia and make allowances for foreigners who are building a house and adding to the housing supply.

Crockers' monthly report also showed rents in Auckland were largely stable with three-bedroom rentals averaging $595 a week in April.

In central Auckland, the average for a three bedroom rental was $457 and $625 in the city centre.

Two and three-bedroom rentals had seen significant growth between 2010 and 2012 but since then the rate of growth had slowed, Crockers said.

Rents have risen about 20 per cent since 2010, except for three bedroom houses in the central city where growth had been 16 per cent.

Premium three-bedroom rentals had dropped by $30 in 2014 after rising $50 to $60 in the previous two years.

- This story has been corrected

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