AKIPRESS.COM - New Zealand has banned most foreigners from buying homes as it tries to tackle runaway housing prices, ABC Newsreported.
Previously the housing market was open to investors worldwide, but the government on Wednesday passed legislation that allows only New Zealand residents to buy homes.
In recent years, there have been many anecdotal stories of wealthy foreigners from Silicon Valley and beyond buying ranches in picturesque rural New Zealand as a "bolt hole" or escape option from a turbulent world.
There have also been stories of wealthy Chinese buyers outbidding New Zealanders on suburban homes in the main city of Auckland.
Statistics indicate about 3 percent of New Zealand homes are being sold to foreigners, but the amount rises to 5 percent in the scenic Queenstown region and 22 percent in central Auckland.