The Lord of the Rings and Kim Dotcom put New Zealand on the map for wealthy tech moguls seeking a safe space to hole up when disaster strikes. The Trump presidency kicked the bolt-hole craze to levels where Kiwi lawmakers had to put the brakes on the trend among the ultra-wealthy.
New Zealand's isolation, lack of global enemies, lovely climate, and perks for luring tech workers have sealed its reputation in the Bay Area. Via Bloomberg:
The Investor Plus Visa, which requires a minimum investment of NZD$10 million ($6.7 million) over three years, attracted 17 U.S. applicants in fiscal 2017, after President Donald Trump's election. Previously, it averaged six applicants a year.
More than 10 Americans from the West Coast have bought multimillion-dollar properties in the Queenstown region in the past two years, said Mark Harris, managing director of the local Sotheby's real estate office.
In August, partly in response to Americans gobbling up swaths of prime real estate, New Zealand's government banned foreigners from buying homes, with the restrictions set to take effect in coming months.
Peter Thiel, the billionaire co-founder of PayPal, ignited an uproar when he was granted citizenship after spending just 12 days in the country, prompting allegations that New Zealand's passport was for sale. Thiel, 50, owns a $13.8 million home on 477 acres (193 hectares) in the lakeside town of Wanaka, with views of snow-capped mountains, and purchased another property in Queenstown, outfitted with a safe room.
Hats off to the lovely illustrations by Steph Davidson that accompany the piece.