More New Zealand houses are being sold to people who live in China, according to real estate agents.
Tony Alexander, BNZ chief economist, said the latest BNZ-REINZ Residential Market Survey showed a quarter of all houses or apartments sold to foreigners were going to the Chinese.
"Whereas last year in March, 15 per cent of dwelling sales to people offshore were to people in China and in May 20 per cent, this March, the proportion is 25 per cent. So a rising proportion of sales going offshore are to people in China of which about 41 per cent are considered as likely to shift to New Zealand," Alexander said. Agents said of all the sales they handle, 6.4 per cent are to people who live overseas.
He has previously advocated that New Zealand should adopt Australia's more restrictive approach to foreigners buying houses.
Australia, Britain, Singapore, Hong Kong and Canada all have measures to defend their housing stock against foreign buyers.
In Australia, foreigners can build only new homes, not buy existing ones, he said.
When it comes to a multi-unit complex like an apartment block, they can buy only 50 per cent.
New Zealand should mimic the system so new house supply rises while foreigners are deterred from driving up prices in already overheated places like Auckland, Mr Alexander says.
The Campaign Against Foreign Control of Aotearoa, which has its headquarters in Christchurch, has long campaigned against foreigners buying businesses and property here.
They claim it is against our national interest and is doing damage to the economy.
The Labour Party wants to discourage foreign buyers but Barfoot & Thompson managing director Peter Thompson has expressed doubts about that.
Countries which banned foreign investors did not enjoy lower house prices and New Zealand did not have to follow other countries on the issue, he says.