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Auckland replaces Toronto as the world’s most desired locale for million-dollar listings.

Christopher Tkaczyk
August 16, 2016

Anyone looking to buy a vacation home may want to consider New Zealand. It’s only an easy 13-hour flight from Los Angeles, after all.

Auckland has replaced Toronto as the most popular luxury market for wealthy individuals who are looking to buy a second home, according to a report from Christie’s International Real Estate. The main reason? New Zealand's strong economy and job growth has spurred immigration as well as a deluge of investments by foreigners and expats looking for a second home. Sales of million dollar homes in Auckland have tripled over the past three years.

The study looked at more than 100 markets worldwide, where the average starting price for a luxury property is $2.2 million.

Courtesy of Christie's International Real Estate

Auckland also happens to be one of the cheapest cities for properties valued at more than $1 million. According to the Wall Street Journal, the price per square foot for a recent luxury listing worth more than $1 million was just $385. At the other end of the spectrum, the average price per square foot in Monaco is more than $4,000, making the French Riviera principality the world’s most expensive place to buy a home.

Another reason that New Zealand is so popular with the jet set: it has no capital gains tax or visa requirements. That means international buyers have been flooding the market in the past year, causing sales of luxury properties to grow by 63%. 

To prevent a potential housing bubble, the local government has enacted a law that requires investors who sell properties without holding them for at least two years to pay a flipping tax. But so far, New Zealand has not targeted overseas buyers for additional taxation, even though fears of an influx of Chinese buyers prompted the government to begin collecting identifying information on non-resident buyers last October.

“While nothing has been ruled out, we are not actively pursuing any further property taxes at this time,” a spokesman for New Zealand’s Revenue Minister Michael Woodhouse told the Journal.

New Zealand has also seen increased tourism in recent years, and one small town has so many available jobs that it began offering incentives for skilled workers to move there.

Christopher Tkaczyk is the Senior News Editor at Travel + Leisure. Follow him on Twitter and Instagram at @ctkaczyk.

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