Foreigners are allowed to buy units in the new 57-level Pacifica apartments under construction in Auckland despite the Government's law change restricting non-citizens and non-residents' purchase of New Zealand homes.
Gavin Lloyd, residential projects national director at sole marketing agents CBRE, said developers of The Pacifica had been granted an exemption by the Overseas Investment Office so they could sell to foreigners.
This was the first time the Government had granted an exemption under the new anti-foreign buyer law, he said.
The Government passed amendments to the Overseas Investment Act, meaning only New Zealand citizens or residents are now allowed to buy residential and lifestyle properties unless they get a specific exemption.
Multi-unit apartments of 20 or more places can be exempted but Lloyd said The Pacifica's developers Hengyi had to apply to qualify.
"You still needed to apply for an exemption from the minister," Lloyd said.
The Overseas Investment Office exemption stated Hengyi Limited Partnership was granted a transitional exemption certificate for large apartment development. The exemption said it only applied for 10-12 Commerce St.
Lloyd said construction specialists Icon were up to level 15 of the tower, due to climb to 57 levels and be worth $300m to $400m on completion by 2020.
"We have sold about 80 per cent of the apartments," Lloyd said of the 282-unit project. Foreign buyers had only bought a few places there but the exemption was important, he said.
"It provides a high-level endorsement of the developer's quality and its importance to the local economy. The decision by the OIO is an important step for The Pacific and it is good to have official confirmation that foreign buyers are able to purchase. The process was a worthwhile one," Lloyd said.
The exemption said the rights to sell to foreigners ran through till August, 2023.