Auckland real estate agent 'shocked at online backlash to sale to foreign buyer'

Author
Lincoln Tan, NZ Herald,
Section
Business,
Publish Date
Monday, 3 July 2017, 7:46PM
The Auckland agent said she was shocked at the backlash. (Photo / File)
The Auckland agent said she was shocked at the backlash. (Photo / File)

A real estate agent, who posted on Facebook about selling an Auckland property to overseas buyers who had just flown in here, says she is "shocked" and "saddened" by the backlash to it.

Fiona Li, 30, of Harcourts said she received over 100 comments and responses on the social media platform, and also texts via her cellphone, which were mainly negative.

People were responding to a photo of the buyers with a caption saying: "SOLD! "Very happy overseas buyers from China, just off plane arrived today. They are looking for more houses to buy".

Li said she had a duty, as a professional real estate agent, to find buyers that were prepared to pay top dollars for all her listings.

"I owe it to my vendors to get the best prices for their property, and it just so happens that these overseas buyers are the ones who are prepared to pay," she said.

Much of the online reaction was negative.

"Bad taste all round," said one critic. "Hopefully this page is a joke. Flaunting the fact you profit by targeting buyers from another market is tacky. Illegal - no. Absolutely questionable and poor form - yes. I feel this will be a lesson in etiquette you will learn quickly. Give hard working families a chance. Time the Govt stomped on this".

Another said: "You seem to love and put emphasis on selling to Chinese. Where is your loyalty to NZ people, our home and we have shortage enough. Very sad of you."

Li, who has lived in New Zealand for 11 years, said her loyalty remains with New Zealand and her Kiwi vendors.

 

She has been a real estate agent since 2013, and said this was the first time any of her postings has had such a blacklash.

"I feel really shocked and sad at the responses and the anger expressed, but it is unfair to blame an agent or Asians for Auckland's housing crisis," Li said.

"I will sell my listings to anyone who is willing to pay the asking price, not just Chinese."

New Zealand legislation allows foreigners to buy properties here as long as they don't tip the threshold of the Overseas Investment Office, which examines applications for deals worth more than $100 million.

Unlike most other countries, foreigners can buy New Zealand property without OIO approval, as long as it is less 0.4ha and does not adjoin certain areas such as lakes, rivers or seasides or involve sensitive land.

However, the Government tightened rules from October 1, 2015. A New Zealand IRD number and New Zealand bank account is now needed by foreign buyers.

-NZ Herald

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