New data shows that 1.25 per cent of Tauranga homes were bought by non-resident buyers in the last six months.
That amounted to 54 homes which were sold to overseas tax residents out of a total of 4314 homes sold between October and March. In the Western Bay of Plenty there were nine properties sold to overseas tax residents out of a total of 1620 homes sold during the same period - 0.56 per cent.
We're still talking about potentially the super wealthy making it more difficult for locals to get on the property ladders or find somewhere to live.
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Nationally, 3 per cent of purchases were made by overseas tax residents and in Auckland that figure rose to 4 per cent.
The figures were released by Land Information New Zealand yesterday. Since October last year, the tax residency of people buying property in New Zealand has to be recorded under the Land Transfer Amendment Act.
Land Information New Zealand warned the data was not complete. About 10 per cent of sales across the country involved buyers who did not need to disclose tax information because their sale and purchase agreement was signed before the law came into force in October.
Tauranga Mayor Stuart Crosby said he was not surprised by the figures because of the growth seen in the city in recent months.
"Our growth is from a number of areas and that's one of them," he said. "I think it demonstrates that it's a small component of our overall home ownership and not a concern."
Tauranga-based New Zealand First MP Clayton Mitchell said he did not think the new legislation was having the desired effect.
"One per cent in a city our size is a considerable problem. We're still talking about potentially the super wealthy making it more difficult for locals to get on the property ladders or find somewhere to live," he said.
"If it's 50 houses that we don't have available because they've been speculator bought and they are sitting there vacant ... that's not a good thing."
Mr Mitchell said the 4 per cent of buyers in Auckland who were overseas tax residents were driving more Aucklanders towards Tauranga.
He said more needed to be done to stop foreign investment pushing prices up.
Immigration needed to be curbed and foreign speculators needed to be stopped, he said.
If it's 50 houses that we don't have available because they've been speculator bought and they are sitting there vacant ... that's not a good thing.
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Tauranga MP Simon Bridges said the data indicated that overseas tax residents were a small proportion of the Tauranga market.
"The Government changed the rules to make sure we were working out who was and wasn't paying tax on properties because there's been a lot of noise on this issue.
"We'll continue to monitor this closely," he said.
"So far there's not a case to say there's hordes of overseas tax residents causing these issues."
Mr Bridges said it was early days but so far the figures did not make a case for the need to tighten immigration rules.
About overseas tax residency
* Tax residency is not the same as nationality.
* An overseas tax resident may be a New Zealand citizen working or travelling overseas or they may be an overseas citizen who lives and works in New Zealand.
"I think New Zealand gets a lot out of being open to immigrants," he said.
Mr Bridges said it was better to be a country people wanted to move to than to see Kiwis moving overseas in droves as was the case a few years ago.