Aucklanders happy to sell at inflated prices, local says.

A property investor says Kiwis asking for inflated prices are to blame for the overheated housing market - not foreign buyers.

Former president of the Auckland Regional Ethnic Council, Ron Hoy Fong, describes himself as "Chinese and a third-generation New Zealander" and he owns more than 30 properties.

Yesterday he was at an open home in Pt Chevalier, where he was accompanied by half a dozen of his "investment students".

"I know how Kiwis think: 'Who the hell are you coming to buy my quarter-acre section of land'," Hoy Fong told the Herald on Sunday. "That's the Kiwi mentality - but at the same time, they'll welcome the same buyer when it comes to selling.

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"They're saying the Chinese are pushing the prices up, but who is it that owns the house and is asking for more than they should?"

Real estate figures published in yesterday's Weekend Herald covering almost 4000 house sales by one unidentified firm from February to April, show people of Chinese descent accounted for 39.5 per cent of transactions in the city in that period.

Census 2013 data shows ethnic Chinese who are New Zealand residents or citizens account for just 9 per cent of Auckland's population.

Labour's Phil Twyford yesterday backed the poll results saying NZ should follow Australia's lead. Photo / File
Labour's Phil Twyford yesterday backed the poll results saying NZ should follow Australia's lead. Photo / File

The figures were leaked to Labour's housing spokesman Phil Twyford and have prompted intense debate and accusations of racism.

Hoy Fong, a Queen's Service Medal recipient who runs investment coaching firm Ronovationz, said "any restriction policy cannot be racist, it can only be across the board. There has to be the same rules, not just because someone is Chinese."

A poll at nzherald.co.nz found readers overwhelmingly backed New Zealand following Australia and banning foreigners from buying unless they build a new house or already live here. Of almost 4000 respondents, 81 per cent chose that option when asked: "What do you think the Government should do about overseas-based investors buying houses in Auckland?"

Allowing foreigners to buy but heavily taxing capital gains, as in Britain, earned 14 per cent of the vote. Three per cent said nothing needed to be done and 2 per cent said foreigners should be allowed to buy but a public registry of nationalities should be kept.

Twyford yesterday backed the poll results saying New Zealand should follow Australia's lead. He also backed a public registry of foreign ownership being established.

"I believe there is no upside for New Zealand in putting our tiny real estate market into a global market," he said. "This is allowing cashed up speculators to make a killing at the expense of our first-time buyers."

However, Property Institute of New Zealand chief executive Ashley Church accused Labour of a "racist sideshow".

"Mr Twyford uses 'Asian sounding' surnames as his means to identify which buyers are 'Asian investors', without any way of knowing whether the buyer is a New Zealand immigrant who lives here, or an investor based in China.

"On that basis Mr Twyford should be blowing the whistle on Scottish foreign investment because a large number of Kiwi homes are owned by people who have names starting with 'Mc' or 'Mac'," Church said. "This is the sort of racist sideshow we'd expect from NZ First " not a serious political party with pretensions to hold the reins of power."