New Zealand is an attractive country for foreigners looking to invest in real estate. The country is known for its natural beauty, diverse landscape, and friendly people, making it a popular destination for those looking for a change of scenery. Additionally, the New Zealand government has made it easy for foreigners to invest in property, with few restrictions and a streamlined process.
In this article, we will provide an overview of property types, costs of purchasing and ownership, financing requirements and structures, additional costs, and taxes for disposal costs on the sale of property. We’ll also look at the advantages Singapore citizens have due to a unique bi-lateral between New Zealand and Singapore and what the main cities offer and why you might choose one over another to live in.
Type of Property in New Zealand
New Zealand offers a wide range of properties for foreign investors, ranging from apartments in the cities to lifestyle blocks in the countryside. Some popular types of property include:
Apartments and Condominiums: These are popular among investors looking for properties in cities like Auckland, Wellington and Christchurch. They are also a popular choice for people looking to invest in rental properties.
Townhouses: Similar to apartments, townhouses are popular in cities and are a good option for people looking for low maintenance properties.
Single-family homes: These are popular among families and are available in both urban and rural areas. They offer large floor areas and typically have a lot of green space for keen gardeners or those looking for the space they can’t get in Singapore.
Lifestyle Blocks: These are larger properties, typically with a house and land, and are popular among home buyers looking for a more rural lifestyle.
Farms and Agricultural Land: New Zealand is known for its agriculture industry, and farms and agricultural land are a popular investment option for those looking to invest in the industry.
Costs of Purchasing a Home
When purchasing a home in New Zealand, there are several costs to consider. These include:
Agent Fees: Real estate agents typically charge a commission fee of around 3-4% of the sale price of the property.
Taxes: Foreign buyers are subject to a stamp duty of 5% of the purchase price of the property. Additionally, there is a Goods and Services Tax (GST) of 15% on new properties if buying as a business.
Property in New Zealand: Costs of Ownership
In addition to the costs of purchasing a home, there are also costs associated with owning a property in New Zealand. These include:
Council Rates: Council rates are a form of property tax and are based on the value of the property. They are paid annually and are used to fund local government services. As an example, a home in Auckland valued at NZ$2m may expect to pay around NZ$4,000 in rates per annum.
Land Taxes or Capital Gains Taxes: New Zealand does not have a land tax, but there is a capital gains tax on the sale of property. This tax is calculated based on the profit made from the sale of the property and is typically 15%. It’s measured based on usage (owner-occupied vs investment) and time between purchasing and selling. It’s not a straight capital gains tax as seen in other countries and looks to not penalise homeowners.
Financing Requirements and Structures
Singaporeans can borrow in New Zealand. Foreign investors looking to purchase a property in New Zealand will typically need to provide a 30% deposit unless they have residency whereby this would reduce to 20%. In addition to the deposit, investors will also need to show proof of income and expenses and may be required to provide additional security, such as a guarantor or collateral.
There are several financing options available to foreign investors in New Zealand, including:
Traditional Bank Mortgage: A traditional mortgage is a loan from a bank or financial institution that is secured by the property. The loan is typically repaid over a period of 20-30 years.
Non-Bank Lenders: Non-bank lenders are private companies that offer financing options outside of traditional banks. These lenders typically have more flexible lending criteria but may charge higher interest rates.
Vendor Financing: Vendor financing is when the seller of the property provides financing to the buyer. This option can be beneficial for buyers who are unable to secure financing through traditional means. Not common but is sometimes an option for higher end luxury properties where buyers are limited.
There are a number of considerations when it comes to arranging a home loan in New Zealand which you should be aware of. Key ones to keep in mind are:
Apartment size: Banks have limited appetite for apartments under 45m2 so avoid these if you are looking for a supporting loan.
Luxury property: Banks will lend lower loan to value of property in the luxury space so if you are looking at a coastal property or a small island where there are limited buyers in the market.
Offshore income: Banks will want to see evidence of offshore income and from reputable sources. They will ask for bank statements and financial accounts. They may discount this income by up to 30% depending on circumstances.
Opening accounts: You will need to come to New Zealand to establish a relationship with a bank before settling a loan. The key piece of the puzzle to unlocking a banking relationship in New Zealand is the account opening and Anti Money Laundering clearance process and the only way to complete this is by visiting a New Zealand bank branch in person.
What are the differences between the NZ property market and the Singaporean market?
There are several differences between the New Zealand and Singaporea’s property markets, including:
The property market in Singapore is much smaller than the market in New Zealand, both in terms of land area and population. Singapore is a small island city-state with a population of around 5.7 million people, while New Zealand is a larger country with a population of around 5 million people spread across two main islands.
Property types in New Zealand vs Singapore
The types of properties available in each market are also different. In Singapore, most properties are high-rise apartments or condominiums due to limited land availability, while in New Zealand, there is a greater variety of property types available, including detached houses, apartments, and townhouses. Something else that’s important to note is that in Singapore most apartments are on 99-year leases where as in New Zealand most ownership is on a freehold basis.
Property prices in Singapore tend to be higher than those in New Zealand, due in part to the limited land availability and high demand for property in the city-state. In recent years, however, the New Zealand property market has seen significant price increases, particularly in the larger cities such as Auckland and Wellington.
Singapore has tighter restrictions on foreign ownership of property than New Zealand. Foreigners can only purchase certain types of property in Singapore, such as apartments in high-rise buildings, and must pay additional stamp duty fees. In New Zealand, foreign ownership of property is generally allowed, although there are some restrictions on purchasing certain types of property, such as farmland.
The rental market in Singapore is highly regulated, with landlords required to follow strict guidelines and rent control measures. In New Zealand, the rental market is less regulated, with landlords and tenants negotiating rents and lease terms independently.
Mortgage rates in Singapore are generally lower than those in New Zealand, due in part to the lower interest rates set by the central bank. However, there are stricter lending criteria and down payment requirements for obtaining a mortgage in Singapore.
Overall, while there may be some similarities between the New Zealand and Singaporean property markets, there are also significant differences in terms of size, property types, pricing, foreign ownership restrictions, rental market regulations, and mortgage rates. It is important for buyers to understand these differences when considering purchasing property in either country.
What advantages do Singapore Citizens have when buying a property in New Zealand?
Foreign ownership of property in New Zealand is governed by the Overseas Investment Act 2005. The act regulates foreign investment in sensitive New Zealand assets, including land, businesses, and significant infrastructure. Under the act, foreign investors must obtain approval from the New Zealand government before purchasing sensitive assets.
Singapore citizens are considered foreign buyers under the Overseas Investment Act, and as such, must obtain approval from the New Zealand government before purchasing property in the country. However, Singapore citizens have an exemption for buying urban residential land and are eligible for streamlined approval processes avoiding screening under New Zealand’s free trade agreement with Singapore, something only Singapore and Australia have and something that puts them in a unique position as foreign buyers.
The New Zealand government has historically been supportive of foreign investment in the country, including foreign investment in property. The government views foreign investment as a way to boost economic growth and increase job opportunities. As a result, the approval process for foreign buyers is generally straightforward, provided the buyer meets certain criteria.
There are some restrictions around sensitive land, land that has conservation land or rivers and lakes next door are examples of sensitive land, where city homes are generally not considered sensitive land. Despite these restrictions, Singapore citizens are still able to purchase property in New Zealand, provided they meet the necessary criteria and obtain approval from the New Zealand government. The process for obtaining approval typically involves submitting an application to the Overseas Investment Office, providing details about the proposed purchase and the buyer’s financial status. If approved, the buyer will be required to pay the necessary fees and taxes associated with the purchase.
There are government’s policies are aimed at striking a balance between encouraging foreign investment and protecting the interests of local residents. As such, Singapore citizens looking to invest in New Zealand property should consult with a reputable real estate agent or legal professional to ensure they understand the process and requirements for foreign ownership.
Let’s have a look at what the cities offer.
Auckland is New Zealand’s largest city and the economic powerhouse of the country. It is a vibrant, multicultural city that offers a diverse range of cultural activities, dining options, and nightlife. It is also home to some of New Zealand’s best beaches and outdoor activities. Auckland’s property market is diverse and offers a range of options for homebuyers, from modern apartments to sprawling suburban homes. The city’s job market is strong, with opportunities in industries such as finance, technology, and healthcare. Auckland also boasts excellent schools and universities (Auckland University and Auckland University of Technology), making it an attractive option for families.
Tauranga is a coastal city located in the Bay of Plenty region of the North Island. It is known for its stunning beaches, beautiful harbour, and relaxed lifestyle. Tauranga has a strong economy, driven by industries such as horticulture, tourism, and manufacturing. It also has a growing technology sector, which is attracting young professionals to the area. The city has a range of housing options, from affordable apartments to high-end waterfront homes. Tauranga is also home to some excellent schools, making it a popular choice for families.
Hamilton is a vibrant city located in the heart of the Waikato region of the North Island. It is known for its friendly, community-focused atmosphere and affordable cost of living. Hamilton is a great place for families, with a range of excellent schools and one university (Waikato University) and plenty of outdoor activities on offer. It’s known as a gardener’s city as it has great growing conditions and is home to the internationally renowned Hamilton Gardens. The city has a strong economy, with opportunities in industries such as agriculture, manufacturing, and healthcare. The property market in Hamilton is affordable compared to some of New Zealand’s larger cities, with a range of options for homebuyers.
Wellington is the capital city of New Zealand and is located at the southern tip of the North Island. It is a bustling, creative city with a thriving arts scene, excellent dining options, and a vibrant nightlife. Wellington is also home to some of New Zealand’s best schools and universities (Victoria University), making it an attractive option for families. The city has a strong economy, with opportunities in industries such as technology, government, and tourism. Wellington’s property market is diverse, with a range of housing options available, from character homes to modern apartments.
Christchurch is the largest city in the South Island and is known for its stunning natural scenery, friendly locals, and relaxed lifestyle. Christchurch has a strong economy, with opportunities in industries such as agriculture, manufacturing, and technology. The city’s property market is affordable compared to some of New Zealand’s larger cities, with a range of options for homebuyers. Christchurch is also home to some excellent schools, making it an attractive option for families. Again, it has great schools and universities (University of Christchurch and Lincoln University).
Dunedin is a coastal city located in the south of the South Island. It is known for its stunning natural scenery, rich history, and vibrant student population. Dunedin has a strong economy, with opportunities in industries such as healthcare, education, and tourism. The city’s property market is affordable compared to some of New Zealand’s larger cities, with a range of options for homebuyers. Dunedin is also home to some excellent schools and universities (Otago university), making it a great choice for families and students alike.
Overall, each of these cities offers unique benefits for someone considering living in New Zealand. It is important to consider factors such as job opportunities, cost of living, and housing options when deciding which city is the best fit. Many families choose New Zealand for a range of reasons with quality of lifestyle and education being two of the bigger reasons. Ultimately, the choice will depend on individual preferences and priorities.
What if you want to live in New Zealand?
There are several ways for foreigners to gain residency in New Zealand, including:
Skilled Migrant Category
The Skilled Migrant Category is designed for individuals who have skills and experience that are in demand in New Zealand. To be eligible, applicants must be under the age of 55, meet health and character requirements, and score enough points based on factors such as age, education, work experience, and language skills.
Work to Residence Category
The Work to Residence Category is for individuals who have a job offer from a New Zealand employer. This category is divided into two streams: Long Term Skill Shortage List and Accredited Employer. The Long-Term Skill Shortage List stream is for individuals who have skills that are in demand in New Zealand, while the Accredited Employer stream is for individuals who have a job offer from an accredited New Zealand employer.
Business and Investor Category
The Business and Investor Category is for individuals who want to invest in or start a business in New Zealand. There are several different visas available under this category, including the Entrepreneur Work Visa, the Investor Visa, and the Investor Plus Visa.
The Family Category is for individuals who have a close family member who is a New Zealand citizen or resident. This category includes visas such as the Partner Visa, Parent Retirement Visa, and
It is important to note that each category has its own eligibility requirements and application process, and the process can take several months or even years. It is recommended that applicants seek professional advice and assistance when applying for residency in New Zealand.
Final thoughts! What do New Zealand and Singapore have in common?
New Zealand and Singapore may seem like very different countries, located on opposite sides of the world with vastly different landscapes, cultures, and histories. However, there are a few things that these two countries have in common:
Small size: Both New Zealand and Singapore are relatively small countries in terms of land area and population. New Zealand has a population of around 5 million people, while Singapore has a population of around 5.7 million people.
Multiculturalism: Both countries are known for their multicultural populations. In New Zealand, around one-third of the population was born overseas, and there are over 200 different ethnic groups living in the country. Singapore is known for its diverse mix of Chinese, Malay, and Indian cultures, as well as its large expat community.
High standards of living: Both New Zealand and Singapore are considered to be countries with high standards of living. In the 2021 Human Development Index, New Zealand ranked 16th in the world, while Singapore ranked 11th. Both countries have strong economies, high levels of education and healthcare, and low levels of crime and corruption.
Emphasis on education: Education is highly valued in both New Zealand and Singapore. Both countries have well-developed education systems and are known for their high-quality universities and research institutions.
Environmental conservation: Both New Zealand and Singapore place a high emphasis on environmental conservation and sustainability. In New Zealand, there are many national parks, reserves, and protected areas, and the country is known for its clean and green image. In Singapore, there are efforts to reduce carbon emissions and increase green spaces, such as the Gardens by the Bay.
While New Zealand and Singapore may have some similarities, they are also very different in many ways, including their geography, climate, culture, and history. However, these shared values and characteristics help to strengthen the relationship between these two countries.