China has just relaxed capital controls for the first time this year and the business which ranks New Zealand as one of the most popular countries for house buyers based in China said that could have a big impact on global markets.

Jane Lu, head of Australia for Juwai.com - which says it is the main international property web site for Chinese international property buyers - said that marked an enormous change.

New Zealand ranks sixth most popular for house buyers based in China, after the United States, Australia, Thailand, Canada, and the United Kingdom, Lu told the Herald last month.

"We expect 2017 to be one of the two or three biggest years yet on record for Chinese international real estate acquisitions.

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"China is reversing a range of measures it has put in place to support its currency," Juwai said.

New Zealand ranks ahead of Germany, Japan, Malaysia and Spain for Chinese house buyers, Juwai says.

The rules were eased this week and Juwai expects further loosening in the near future.
Lu said this could have a big impact.

"For the real estate markets, this change shows that capital controls could be further unwound in the near future. That would potentially lead to increases in Chinese investment in overseas property," Lu said.

"China's government is declaring victory in its battle over capital flight. Their goal was really to show they had the ability to control the value of their own currency and they have certainly done that," Lu said.

"The yuan has now more than regained everything it lost last year," she said.
Lu said Chinese appetite for New Zealand real estate remained strong because it was "good value."