Fleeing Americans eye up New Zealand property, one-way flights

New Zealand housing may come under more pressure as American refugees arrive on our shores. Photo / File
New Zealand housing may come under more pressure as American refugees arrive on our shores. Photo / File

Auckland's landlords are warning the city's red-hot housing market is likely to come under even more pressure as desperate Americans frantically search how to escape their country.

As it looked increasingly likely Donald Trump would be the next President, disillusioned Democrats ramped up efforts to find a safe haven as far away as possible.

The google search "move to New Zealand" skyrocketed, as people living in Oregon, Washington and Florida keyed in the phrase.

Thousands of Americans also flooded to realestate.co.nz to look at homes for sale in New Zealand, with the top five areas searched being Auckland, Wellington, Canterbury, Northland and Otago.

US-based traffic to the website was up 432 per cent compared to November 9 last year.

"Last night, the US jumped into second place ahead of Australia in terms of visitor numbers," said CEO Brendon Skipper.

"While we are not expecting a mass exodus to New Zealand, it will be interesting to see how the trends play out over the coming months as Trump settles in."

California generated the most traffic to realestate.co.nz followed by Texas, Florida, New York and Washington.

Canada has also proved a popular hunting ground. The Canadian Real Estate Association reported phenomenal web interest over the past few days and a big spike as Trump was elected.

This was matched by an enormous 900 per cent jump in Americans looking for one-way flights to Canada on election day compared with the same time frame across previous Tuesdays.

New Zealand also had a dramatic 500 per cent spike in searches for one-way flights between midnight and 8am today. Other destinations that spiked overnight included New Zealand and Australia, which jumped more than 500 per cent between midnight and 8am.

The Auckland Property Investors Association president Andrew Bruce said an exodus was purely speculative but New Zealand ought to start preparing for large numbers of Americans heading down Under.

"An influx will put further pressure on our already short supply of housing in Auckland," said Bruce.

"We are already struggling to keep up with demands."

Bruce said the surprising election result was likely to add further pressure on New Zealand interest rates.

He urged investors to make calm and informed financial decisions based on reason not emotion.

"There will be a lot of noises on the market predicting Armageddon. The reality is that no one can tell with a great degree of certainty at this stage what a Trump presidency will ultimately mean for the New Zealand economy. It is more important than ever for investors to focus on the trend lines rather than the headlines."

The thought of a down under exit plan has been touted by many high-profile Americans, including Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg and American comedian Billy Crystal.

"I can't imagine what the country would be with Donald Trump as our president. Now it's time for us to move to New Zealand," Ginsburg told the New York Times.

Other high-profile Americans who have publicly stated that they'd leave if Trump became President include comedienne Amy Schumer and actor Samuel L. Jackson.

- NZ Herald

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