New Zealand bans property sales to foreigners, but Singaporeans are more than welcome

Photo: Pexels
Photo: Pexels

New Zealanders do have a special place in their hearts for Singaporeans.

This week, the Pacific island-nation announced that they would make an exception to their wide-reaching ban on foreigners owning residential property for citizens of a few countries, including Singapore.

The ban was passed in the hopes of keeping home prices down for New Zealand’s own citizens, who were reportedly being priced out of the market by buyers from other countries, according to Stuff.

While the prohibition has been called “discriminatory” by critics both inside and outside the country, Australians, Singaporeans, and certain types of visa holders of other nationalities will not be excluded. The New Zealand government announced that Singapore will join Australia as a “carve-out” nation, with all of its citizens enjoying the same rights as Kiwis to buy property, in order to not disrupt a free trade agreement.

But hold your horses Singaporeans, don’t get too hasty. Singapore and New Zealand have an agreement to re-discuss the arrangement if Singapore nationals started buying up houses in significant numbers.

Of course, this is not the first time New Zealand has made this kind of gesture toward Singapore. In 2010 and again in 2014, the government launched a campaign to entice Singaporeans to relocate there to help fill their labor shortage.

Why so sweet on Singapore? Immigration New Zealand (INZ), the governmental arm responsible for issuing visas, told The New Paper in 2015 that Singapore was a good demographic match for their country, adding that Singaporeans generally have the financial means to afford living in the country long term.

The carrots they used to lure would-be kiwis included cool weather, high quality of life, and of course, low cost of living.

And it looks like many Singaporeans have taken them up on their offer. Between 2010 and 2015, the INZ granted 20,775 permanent resident visas to Singaporeans.

While not everyone granted a visa opted to move, it looks like a fair number of people have swiped right on New Zealand.

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