LINZ Chief Executive Peter Mersi says that the data will help Inland Revenue ensure that people are meeting their tax obligations and also adds to the picture of what's happening with property in New Zealand.
"However, this is not a register of foreign ownership. That's because tax residency is not the same as nationality. For example, a New Zealander living and paying tax in the UK who bought a house in New Zealand would be included in this information as having overseas tax residency," he says.
Between 1 January and 31 March 2016, 3 percent of transfers involved buyers who indicated an overseas tax residency. Of the remaining transfers over this time:
- Fifty percent of transfers involved buyers who have only New Zealand tax residency.
- Thirty-seven percent involved buyers who did not need to provide tax information – the majority of these were New Zealand citizens or residents who were buying their main home.
- Ten percent involved buyers who did not need to provide information because their sale and purchase agreement was signed before the law came into force.
Mr Mersi says to help find out more about property in New Zealand, buyers and sellers are also asked to provide information about their citizenship or visa status. This information has been skewed by the responses from trust companies and businesses.
"We've removed trust companies and businesses for a clearer picture. This indicates that for properties where there's a home on the land, 1089 transfers (3 percent) didn't involve New Zealand citizens or residents.
"We will refine the guidance on responding to these questions so we can gain greater insight into who is buying and selling New Zealand property," he says.
LINZ will release this data each quarter, with the next release planned for July 2016.
Read the full report on the LINZ website.