The brakes are being put on foreigners buying lifestyle and residential properties but one Bay of Plenty agency has seized the opportunity with a "last chance to buy" auction, which is attracting international interest.

On October 22 the Government will enforce new rules which exclude some overseas purchasers from acquiring New Zealand residential and lifestyle properties less than 5ha without approval from the Overseas Investment Office.

Andrew Fowler, of PGG Wrightson Real Estate Tauranga, said the company had adopted a global marketing plan for six prime lifestyle properties in Katikati, Te Puna and Whakamarama, all with large homes and views.

Plenty of overseas buyers were disappointed by the upcoming ban, he said, and it would have an impact.


''I am dealing frequently with people from the United States, Europe and South Africa, who have the wherewithal to purchase good lifestyle properties and are motivated to make a life here for their families.

"Since the Government has changed the rules for overseas buyers, there will be genuine purchasers whose chance of securing a Kiwi dream property and making a life here will be thwarted. We have taken the initiative and are giving them this chance to buy.''

Several of the properties came with sufficient land to grow produce such as kiwifruit or avocados.

"We are offering highly desirable lifestyle properties, the crème of the crop with outstanding views, in some of the country's most sought-after locations. We know there are international purchasers with genuine intent and desire to buy lifestyle or residential property here, and this is the last chance they have to do that in an unhindered manner," he said.

''My phone is already ringing with overseas people asking if they can do phone bids.''

First National Mount Maunganui, Tauranga and Omokoroa owner Anton Jones said at the end of the day it would be harder for foreign buyers if they did not fit the Government's criteria.

But, on the other hand, Jones said the changes would hopefully give locals "more of a chance to get in''.

Overseas buyers interested in lifestyle properties tended to target Auckland and Queenstown, Jones said.


Simon Anderson, the chief executive of Realty Services, which operates Eves and Bayleys, said the majority of its buyers in the region were New Zealanders.

''It always has been. What we are dealing with day to day is good Kiwi buyers that are looking to find a property to house their family, or grow a crop to make an income, so that is our typical buyer profile.''

Figures from the Real Estate Institute of New Zealand showed the median sales price of lifestyle properties in Tauranga district jumped from $561,013 in 2014 to $990,000 in 2017.

Anderson said there was huge demand from people who were attracted to the rural lifestyle and were seeking small blocks in the country with close amenities like schools, supermarkets and sports fields.

''Tauranga has benefited from that desire over the last number of years ... and I see that continuing as a positive trend. They want that touch of country we have almost lost for a generation.''

Land Information Overseas Investment New Zealand group manager Vanessa Horne said, in general, people who did not have residence class visas and did not live in New Zealand would not be able to buy these properties without consent from the Overseas Investment Office.

People with temporary visas also would not be able to buy a home to live in, but there were some exceptions.

Horne said to get consent to buy a home to live in, overseas people would need to hold a residence class visa, commit to live in New Zealand for at least 183 days in the next 12 months, and be or become a New Zealand tax resident.

On December 15 last year the Government also tightened up the rules on foreigners buying more than 5ha of land.

The PGG Wrightson Real Estate lifestyle auction is at its Tauranga office on October 20 at 10am.

Lifestyle properties

Median sales price Tauranga District

2014 - $561,013

2015 - $656,500

2016 - $830,000

2017 - $990,000

Median sales price Western Bay
2014 - $550,000
2015 - $599,000
2016 - $690,000
2017 - $850,000 - Source REINZ

The Rules

* Who can buy one residential or lifestyle property without a consent from October 22? Australian and Singaporean citizens and permanent residents who live in New Zealand.

* Who can't buy?
Other overseas people.

Who can develop residential land?
* Australian and Singaporean citizens and permanent residents who live in New Zealand.
* Other overseas people will require a consent from the Overseas Investment Office.
- Source: Overseas Investment Office