New Zealand has banned foreigners from buying homes in the country

  • New Zealand's government has banned foreigners from purchasing existing homes in the country.
  • The Overseas Investment Amendment was passed by parliament on Wednesday and is designed to make housing more affordable for nationals.
  • "This government believes that New Zealanders should not be outbid by wealthier foreign buyers," the associate finance minister, David Parker, said in a statement.

The New Zealand government has passed a ban on foreigners buying existing homes in the country in a bid to tackle soaring house prices and rising homelessness, Al Jazeera and The Guardian reported.

The Overseas Investment Amendment bill was passed by parliament on Wednesday and is designed to make housing more affordable for New Zealanders, particularly first time buyers. It follows a surge in the number of overseas buyers coming to New Zealand to buy property in recent years.

"This government believes that New Zealanders should not be outbid by wealthier foreign buyers," the associate finance minister, David Parker, said in a statement. "We should not be tenants in our own land." 

RELATED: Check out the U.S. states home to the most millionaires: 

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10 states with the most millionaires
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9. Delaware

  • Population: 952,100
  • Number of households: 361,528
  • Percentage of millionaire households: 0.06 percent
  • Average income for top 1 percent: $769,109
  • Average income for bottom 99 percent: $48,000

Delaware doesn't even rank among the 35 poorest states in the country, but it's the poorest on this list according to median income. The top 1 percent and the bottom 99 percent are separated by a difference of just 16 times in average annual earnings, which is a relatively low rate of economic disparity.

The agriculture, fishing, mining and manufacturing industries continue to dominate the state. Because of its business-friendly atmosphere, more than half of all the publicly traded companies in the U.S. are incorporated in Delaware.

8. Virginia

  • Population: 8.41 million
  • Number of households: 3.22 million
  • Percentage of millionaire households: 0.07 percent
  • Average income for top 1 percent: $988,000
  • Average income for bottom 99 percent: $56,000

Virginia, where eight American presidents were born, has a relatively low level of income inequality, with the top 1 percent earning 18 times more than the bottom 99 percent. Although the commonwealth suffered a significant economic downturn in recent years, several key indicators suggest that things in Virginia are on the upswing.

7. New Hampshire

  • Population: 1.33 million
  • Number of households: 530,424
  • Percentage of millionaire households: 0.07 percent
  • Average income for top 1 percent: $1 million
  • Average income for bottom 99 percent: $57,000

New Hampshire residents enjoy the lowest poverty rate of any state in the entire country, and it also boasts the sixth-best nationwide employment rate over the last five years. The average income earned by the bottom 99 percent is 18 times lower than that earned by the top 1 percent.

6. Massachusetts

  • Population: 6.82 million
  • Number of households: 2.66 million
  • Percentage of millionaire households: 0.07 percent
  • Average income for top 1 percent: $1.7 million
  • Average income for bottom 99 percent: $56,000

A wide income disparity exists between the elite and everybody else in Massachusetts, where the average member of the top 1 percent earns 30 times more than the average member of the bottom 99 percent. Although Massachusetts disappointed many with a shrinking economy and stalled wages in the first quarter of 2017, it quickly came roaring back in the second quarter with a burst of economic growth.

5. Alaska

  • Population: 741,900
  • Number of households: 271,691
  • Percentage of millionaire households: 0.07 percent
  • Average income for top 1 percent: $833,000
  • Average income for bottom 99 percent: $63,000

Although Alaska has a high concentration of millionaires, the state experiences the lowest level of income inequality on this list. The wealthiest residents aren't particularly wealthy, and the rest of the people in the state do comparatively well. The average income for the top 1 percent is just 13 times greater than the average income earned by the rest of the population. The economy of Alaska can't be compared to that of any other state in the U.S., however, as more than four out of five revenue dollars come by way of the energy industry.

4. Hawaii

  • Population: 1.43 million
  • Number of households: 483,329
  • Percentage of millionaire households: 0.07 percent
  • Average income for top 1 percent: $690,000
  • Average income for bottom 99 percent: $51,000

Hawaii's top 1 percenters make just 14 times more than the bottom 99 percent. Like Alaska, Hawaii has a unique economy, dominated by tourism and the military. Hawaiians face a higher cost of living than residents of any other state, as well as the highest housing prices in the U.S. The median home cost is $646,500, which is more than $135,000 higher than the next costliest state.

3. New Jersey

  • Population: 8.94 million
  • Number of households: 3.29 million
  • Percentage of millionaire households: 0.07 percent
  • Average income for top 1 percent: $1.5 million
  • Average income for bottom 99 percent: $57,000

In the Garden State, there is a huge gap between the wealthiest residents and everyone else. The average top 1 percent earns 25 times more than the average member of the bottom 99 percent. New Jersey has the third-highest median household income rate in America — but the people who live there had better do well. The cost of living in New Jersey is among the country's most expensive, and much of the state consists of bedroom communities for people who work in New York or Philadelphia.

2. Connecticut

  • Population: 3.58 million
  • Number of households: 1.38 million
  • Percentage of millionaire households: 0.07 percent
  • Average income for top 1 percent: $2.4 million
  • Average income for bottom 99 percent: $56,000

Although America's biggest millionaire metropolitan area is by far New York City, the Empire State doesn't even make this list — but its neighbor does. Connecticut is home to a higher per-capita rate of millionaire households than all but one other state.

Connecticut also suffers from dramatic income inequality — the state's elite are by far the richest 1 percent in America. The average earner among the lower 99 percent, however, makes 43 times less. The state is also suffering a major fiscal crisis that is impacting its budget, pension fund and tax revenue — and the capital city of Hartford is teetering on the brink of bankruptcy.

1. Maryland

  • Population: 6.02 million residents
  • Number of households: 2.66 million
  • Percentage of millionaire households: 0.07 percent
  • Average income for top 1 percent: $1 million
  • Average income for bottom 99 percent: $60,000

Leading the list of top 10 richest states according to millionaire concentration is Maryland, the most millionaire-dense state in the country. Home to one of the most educated workforces in the U.S., Maryland enjoys the second-lowest poverty rate in America.

On the border of the nation's capital, the small but influential state boasts the highest median income in America and is still among just 11 states that hold the coveted AAA bond rating.

Maryland has the most millionaires, but what is the richest state in the U.S. in terms of median household income? You guessed it. That's also Maryland.

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Half of New Zealanders owned a home in 1991, a number which has since dropped to one quarter. The Economist released a report in 2017 that said New Zealand house prices were the most unaffordable in the world and prices in Auckland rose by 75% over the last 4 years alone, The Guardian reported.

"We think the market for New Zealand homes and farms should be set by New Zealand buyers, not overseas buyers," Parker told the Guardian. "That is to benefit New Zealanders who have their shoulder to the wheel of the New Zealand economy, pay tax here, have families here. We don’t think they should be outbid by wealthier people from overseas."

The majority of foreign buyers come from China and Australia, but many also come from the US and UK. All nationalities are subject to the bill except buyers from Singapore and Australia.

New Zealand has become known as a get-away for the super-rich who see it as an escape from crowds, social unrest, and as a safe refuge in the event of nuclear war. Buying a house in New Zealand has become a sort of code for getting "apocalypse insurance," Reid Hoffman, co-founder of LinkedIn, told the New Yorker in 2017.

Silicon Valley billionaire Peter Thiel is perhaps the most famous expat to buy property in New Zealand. Thiel managed to become a New Zealand citizen and purchase his property despite having spent only eight days in the country.

Parker said: "We were in opposition at the time Peter Thiel was granted citizenship… We can’t undo what has already been done. But that won’t happen in the future."

Critics have said the legislation will dampen business and a spokesperson for the opposition party said the foreign buyer’s ban was "xenophobic."

Although the ban applies to existing homes, foreign buyers can still purchase property in new block housing developments.

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