New Zealand to Ban Foreign Home Buyers
New Zealand plans to bar foreigners from purchasing existing homes.
The ban is expected to become law this year. It aims to slow the rising housing prices and protect New Zealanders interested in buying a home.
The Labour Party government believes that foreign investors have pushed many possible first-time home buyers and families out of the housing market.
Last year, median housing prices across the country rose by 5.8 percent, to over $405,000.
Housing prices rose even more in New Zealand's capital city, Wellington. Price there rose by more than 18 percent over a 12-month period that ended in June 2017.
The rising prices have pushed home ownership outside the reach of many possible buyers.
One home owner told VOA he feels sorry for the younger generation.
"I look at my children and my family and friends' children, and I really, really feel for them because I just believe the market has made it impossible for them to get into the housing."
Just 25 years ago, three out of every four New Zealanders lived in their own homes. Now the rate is 64 percent -- and falling.
The plan to ban foreigners from buying existing homes has yet to be approved. But the measure, called the Overseas Investment Amendment Bill, passed its first reading in parliament in December.
Restricting foreign ownership of housing has been tried in other countries, including Switzerland, says Norman Gemmell. He is chair of public finance at Victoria University of Wellington.
"So, there is a sensible economic argument that says, if lots of foreign investors -- because there is money slewing around in the world looking for a good home -- if lots of these foreign investors are looking to put their cash into New Zealand, if it then forces up the price of property so that people cannot afford to live anymore, you should think about what is the right way to allocate your domestic housing stock."
Critics say foreign investors have had only a small effect on the cost of housing. Low interest rates, limited supply and immigration have also driven up house prices.
New Zealand's trade minister David Parker says the restrictions are not just about price, but fairness.
"I am not targeting any one individual. I'm trying to protect New Zealanders against some of the excesses of global capitalism."
Chinese investors have been among the biggest foreign buyers of property in New Zealand.
Political commentator Bryce Edwards says the ban is a sign of both intolerance in the community and concerns about capitalism.
"There is much more focus on inequality, and so there has been a lot more focus on wealthy individuals as the problem. And there is an ethnic element to it as well that is perhaps xenophobic or even racist. You know, there has been a great increase in Asian wealth coming to New Zealand and, regardless of whether it is investing here or moving here to live, New Zealanders are a bit more suspicious of that."
Housing prices continue to make solid gains across the country. And for many New Zealanders, the dream of owning a home is as distant as ever.
I'm Ashley Thompson.
1.existing homes 现有住房
As fewer new homes are being built, existing homes are going unsold for longer period of time.
2.focus on 专注于
Their talks are expected to focus on arms control.
3.looking for 寻找
I happened on just the thing I'd been looking for.
4.regardless of 不管
Regardless of whether he is right or wrong, we have to abide by his decisions.
5.If it then forces up the price of property so that people cannot afford to live anymore, you should think about what is the right way to allocate your domestic housing stock."
forces up 迫使上升
We must bring the police force up to ( full) strength.
An inflation forces up the cost of living.
6.If it then forces up the price of property so that people cannot afford to live anymore, you should think about what is the right way to allocate your domestic housing stock."
think about 考虑
I told him I'd have to think about that one.
I think we need to go away and think about this.
这项禁令有望在今年成为法律 。其目的是放缓不断上涨的房价，保护新西兰人买房的动力 。
新西兰首都惠灵顿的房价涨幅更高 。截至2017年6月，在短短的12个月里，该地房价的涨幅超过了18% 。
而25年前，每4名新西兰人里就有3人拥有自己的房子 。现在这一比率仅64%，而且呈下降趋势 。
禁止外国人购买现有住房的计划尚未获得批准 。但这项名为“海外投资修正条例法案”在去年12月通过了国会一读 。
诺曼·吉麦尔（Norman Gemmell）表示，包括瑞士在内的其他国家已经在限制外国人住房所有权领域进行过尝试 。诺曼是惠灵顿维多利亚大学公共财政的主席 。
批评人士表示，外国投资者对房产市场的影响只占很小一部分 。低利率、有限供应和移民因素也助推了高房价 。
而新西兰贸易部长戴维·帕克（David Parker）表示，限制并不只是因为价格，更多的是要保证公平 。
帕克说：“我并不是要针对个人 。我只是在保护新西兰人不会受到过度全球资本的威胁 。
爱德华兹称：现在大家更加聚焦于不平等，很多人将富裕群体视为问题 。这有种族因素在里面，可能被视为排外主义甚至是种族歧视 。你知道，现在有大量亚洲财富涌入新西兰，不管是在这里投资还是移民，新西兰人都会对这股力量持怀疑态度 。
新西兰的房地产价格仍然稳步上升 。对于很多新西兰人来说，拥有一栋房产变得越来越遥不可及 。