The liberal socialist candidate Jacinda Ardern has been elected as the new Prime Minister of New Zealand. At 37, she is the youngest person to have been elected to this position ever. She is also known to have strong views on the housing market, which should concern you if you are planning to sell your house in New Zealand fast.
Ms. Ardern says that her top agenda is to ban foreign investors from taking over the nation's housing market. She has said clearly that she wants to ban overseas buyers from buying existing homes and a bill to "ban overseas speculators" will be introduced "by Christmas", in a speech to the Labour Party workers' conference earlier this week.
New Zealand First's Winston Peters, the country's Deputy Prime Minister-elect and Ms. Ardern’s coalition partner, said that New Zealand was "no longer for sale". He added, "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 had earlier said that his government would make it harder for overseas entities to buy New Zealand land and businesses. "This election is your last chance to have a decision on who owns your country. Last year, 465,000 hectares of land was sold to foreigners. That's up four times on the year before. We, in New Zealand First, are going to stop land sales to foreigners, and house sales to foreigners, who don't come to live here," Mr. Peters said back in July during the campaign.
The reason New Zealand’s new Prime Minister is considering such a move is because there is a widespread opposition to foreign ownership of New Zealand properties in the country. Most people detest the fact that wealthy Chinese and American investors are snapping up prime properties in New Zealand at astronomical prices, which has pushed up the cost of buying a house for everyone else.
There is a housing crisis in New Zealand as the average house for sale is beyond the capacity of most people here, especially in cities such as Auckland. Auckland has one of the fastest growing property markets in the world, where home prices have been shooting up in double digits year after year.
So those who want to buy property in New Zealand online find themselves competing with high net worth foreigners, hedge fund managers, CEOs, investment bankers, etc. from China, Australia, the US and other countries in Asia.
New Zealand’s properties are popular because the country is seen as the safest place on the planet, away from all types of violence or terrorist attacks, with a very stable economy and a liberal, democratic polity. Billionaires like Peter Thiel, the co-founder of PayPal and a Facebook board member have invested heavily in New Zealand.
Robert Johnson, the president of the Institute for New Economic Thinking, said at the World Economic Forum in Davos: “I know hedge-fund managers all over the world who are buying airstrips and farms in places like New Zealand because they think they need a getaway.” Well, things are not going to be so easy anymore!