Chinese buyers coming back to Auckland property market

Chinese buyers could be back in the Auckland property market and if not now, they would be soon, experts say.

In tomorrow's Quotable Value Property Report, national spokeswoman Andrea Rush writes anecdotal evidence suggests the Chinese Government restricting the movement of money for investment, trade or business production out of China made it tougher for Chinese new migrants or foreign investors to purchase property in New Zealand.

Chinese interest in Auckland's housing stock also cooled late last year with new requirements of IRD numbers and bank accounts for foreign investors.

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But activity levels were now picking up across the city with more listings and an increase in the number of houses selling at auction, Ms Rush said.

Values for February showed houses prices were up 11.6 per cent on the same month a year earlier.

"Reports were that activity levels during February were picking up across the city, as were auction clearance rates and that Chinese buyers are back in the market."

Auckland property coach Ron Hoy Fong, whose 400 property investor clients include about 60 per cent New Zealand-based Chinese, said the imminent easing of restrictions of privately held capital in China, through the Qualified Domestic Individual Investor (QDII2) programme, and increased confidence of Kiwis would cause a sharp upward turn in the Auckland property market in two or three months.

"The market is going to go bananas after May. I anticipate we'll jump back up to the 50 per cent over capital values this year ... we are not in a lull. All we had was the Reserve Bank's new ruling and now they are going to go for it."

Auction rooms were already filling up, but mostly with European New Zealanders, and there was more confidence from buyers to put their properties up for auction, compared to late last year.

Increased numbers of Chinese buyers are likely not far away from joining them.

"I have heard the mortgage brokers are getting more busy with enquiries from Chinese buyers, but a lot of them are waiting for their IRD numbers."

Not all Chinese buyers were investors, some wanted to emigrate to New Zealand for a better life, Mr Fong said.

The New Zealand Herald reported last year the second round of China's QDII2 programme could see US$6.61 trillion of Chinese wealth invested in international real estate and other assets.

The first round of the capital outflow easing programme allowed Chinese institutional investors to invest funds overseas.

QDII2 will allow individuals in six cities Shanghai, Tianjin, Chongqing, Wuhan, Shenzhen and Wenzhou to move as much as half of their assets overseas.

- NZ Herald

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