Morgan Tait

Morgan Tait is the NZ Herald's consumer affairs reporter.

Leaflet drop seeks homes for Asians

Agency launches major letterbox pitch to meet the demand of cash investors arriving for Chinese New Year

Photo / Thinkstock
Photo / Thinkstock

A real estate agency that deals with Asian-based investors is scouring Auckland and the upper North Island for properties to keep up with the demand from potential buyers.

Property Asia Realty has begun a huge sales pitch with a letter-drop in all Auckland regions ahead of the Chinese New Year, when they expect an influx of Chinese visitors.

They are offering quick property sales at the best price, as cashed-up investors vie for a slice of the market.

Agent Jason Xiao told the Herald pamphlets had been dropped all over the city to catch the eyes of Kiwis hoping to sell.

"We have lots of Chinese clients who are on holiday and coming to New Zealand to look for a new investment."

Mr Xiao said he had four groups of Chinese clients in New Zealand at the moment and was expecting a further five to fly over during Chinese New Year at the end of January. "Sometimes they come with families or groups of friends who are all buying together."

The company has been operating since 2009, its website claiming more than 1200 clients worldwide. It lists residential, commercial and agricultural properties, as well as businesses, throughout Auckland and the upper North Island.

Uptake from vendors responding to the pamphlets varied, but business in general had been growing since the end of last year, said Mr Xiao.

"We can get the best price for the sellers and work fast because all the Chinese are cash buyers, they don't get finance. They just come and buy straight away and go.

"And we have a very good rate of return for investment; the strength of properties in New Zealand provides a very good return - better than China."

Real Estate Institute of New Zealand chief executive Helen O'Sullivan said that although she had not heard of the practice, it wasn't surprising agents were thinking of new ways to sell houses.

"It would be the first I have heard of it, targeting specifically towards a particular group of buyers," she said. "It's not unusual when stock is short, as it has been in Auckland for the last 12 to 18 months, for agencies to encourage people to list with them using leaflets and other forms of advertising."

It was becoming more common for agents to specialise in niche areas, she said.

"Quite often you will see a house sell on your street and a few days later get a pamphlet saying 'more buyers waiting', but I guess it's just another tactic to attract listings."

She said New Zealand was an attractive place to invest.

"New Zealand is a stable economy with some of the best growth prospects in the OECD so it's not surprising offshore investors are interested in the market."

The BNZ and Real Estate Institute survey in May showed overseas buyers accounted for 8 per cent of residential house sales in New Zealand.

Sixteen per cent were from Britain, 15 per cent from China, 14 per cent from Australia and 12 per cent from other Asian countries. Of those buyers, 3.6 per cent were not planning to move here.

- NZ Herald

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