14 Jul 2015

NZ popular in Chinese property search

5:24 am on 14 July 2015

Figures from a top Chinese property website show New Zealand is now among the most popular countries for online searches by people in China seeking properties overseas.

Home for sale

Photo: RNZ / Diego Opatowski

The website Juwai.com lists properties in 58 countries, including New Zealand.

Spokesperson Dave Platter said New Zealand had had an interesting ride, from number 12 in popularity on the site a year ago, to the fifth most popular position it occupied today.

He said the reason was that this was easy and relatively inexpensive place to buy property, although most would be buyers also had a New Zealand connection.

That included having children educated in New Zealand, retiring there, or having New Zealand business interests.

Mr Platter said the company's research revealed it was untrue that these buyers were leaving homes empty.

While countries like Singapore, Malaysia and Australia had introduced rules to make foreign property ownership more difficult, he said, most nations with which New Zealand would compare itself, such as Canada, the United States and the UK had no restrictions at all.

Mr Platter also warned that while New Zealand had become more popular in a short space of time, that situation that could reverse itself just as quickly.

His comments follow the release of data by the Labour Party which blamed foreign speculators for ramping up Auckland house prices.

The data from one un-named real estate agency showed almost 40 percent of buyers in a three-month period had Chinese names.

Mr Platter said he did not want to comment on such unsubstantiated figures, but the issue had not made waves in China yet, though if attitudes in New Zealand changed, that might reduce Chinese interest.