New Zealand bans most foreigners from buying homes

New Zealand has banned most foreigners from buying homes as it tries to tackle runaway housing prices.

The government on Wednesday passed legislation that allows only New Zealand residents to buy homes as it attempts to improve housing affordability and increase the rate of home ownership.

Previously the housing market was open to investors worldwide. The new law fulfils a campaign pledge by the liberal-led government which came to power last year.

There are some exceptions to the new rules. Foreigners who live in New Zealand and have residency status will still be able to buy homes, as will people from Australia and Singapore thanks to existing free-trade agreements.

Foreigners who already own homes in New Zealand won't be affected.

Opposition lawmakers say the bill is unnecessary.

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