No room at end of the world

The Sunday Times - - World - WELLING­TON

FOREIGNERS face a ban on buy­ing homes in New Zealand af­ter a spend­ing splurge by mil­lion­aires seek­ing dooms­day bolt­holes crowded out buy­ers and pushed up prop­erty prices.

Home pur­chases by ty­coons such as tech bil­lion­aire Peter Thiel, the PayPal founder, and Matt Lauer, the for­mer NBC host who lost his job af­ter al­le­ga­tions of sex­ual mis­con­duct, led the NZ Gov­ern­ment to crack down on the trend.

The coun­try’s al­lure for the mega-rich plan­ning a safe space to ride out the apoc­a­lypse has be­come al­most a cliche in re­cent years. Reid Hoff­man, LinkedIn co-founder, told The New Yorker last year: “Say­ing you’re buy­ing a house in New Zealand is kind of a wink, wink, say no more”.

But the Labour Gov­ern­ment, led by Jacinda Ardern, is blam­ing the apoc­a­lypse prep­pers for a ma­jor hous­ing cri­sis, with rates of home­less­ness among the high­est in the de­vel­oped world.

The leg­is­la­tion ban­ning foreigners from buy­ing most types of homes in the coun­try is due to pass through par­lia­ment next week.

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