Key Facts

  • There are increasing demands for tighter regulation of the owners of “ghost homes” in New Zealand, as these properties remain vacant amidst a severe rental shortage.
  • Data from the 2018 Census and research by Wise Group indicate that in that year, around 10,000 homes were intentionally left unoccupied.
  • The current number of ghost homes is suspected to be higher, with foreign owners largely being blamed.
  • Australia is addressing a similar problem by enforcing significant tax increases on foreign investors who purchase existing properties and leave them empty.
  • Rental seekers and community housing trusts are calling for measures like Australia’s to incentivise homeowners to rent out their properties.
  • There are suggestions for government-legislated solutions that can be adapted to specific districts’ needs.
  • Green Party MP Chlöe Swarbrick supports a ghost house tax, while New Zealand First MP Shane Jones argues that such a move has already been examined and dismissed in 2021.

Article Summary

Demands are increasing in New Zealand for stricter rules targeting owners of “ghost homes”, due to the shortage in available rental properties. According to the 2018 Census and Wise Group’s research, approximately 10,000 New Zealand homes were deliberately left vacant that year. The number is likely higher now, with most of the blame attributed to foreign homeowners.

Similar concerns in Australia have led to the imposition of considerable tax increases on foreign property investors who let their houses remain vacant. Advocates for stricter rules, including rental seekers and community housing trusts, argue that homeowners should be incentivised to rent out their homes, potentially via similar tax schemes as seen in Australia.

There are calls for the government to legislate solutions that can be tailored to fit specific district requirements. Green Party MP Chlöe Swarbrick supports the idea of a ghost house tax, noting the lack of wealth tax, stamp duty tax, inheritance tax, or capital gains tax compared to other OECD countries. However, New Zealand First MP Shane Jones states that the feasibility of such a tax was studied and negated in 2021.

Source Link: To read the full article, click here.