Non-resident Asians are buying Auckland houses and apartments to enhance their marriage prospects, an academic claims.
Professor Manying Ip of Auckland University said Chinese, South Koreans and people from other parts of Asia regarded our houses as good security.
It is common in contemporary China that women expect a prospective husband would already own a property, she said.
Professor Ip said prices for leasehold residential properties in places like Shanghai and Beijing were high and the properties were small, making Auckland even more attractive, she said.
New Zealand group house builders are putting up places of more than 200sq m, double the size of Kiwi homes in the 1960s.
"I suppose it's like Kiwis, there's some reassurance with bricks and mortar," Professor Ip said of the Asian buyers.
Although some buyers might live in their Auckland place, others would regard it purely as an investment.
Professor Ip said Chinese were also drawn to other places like Hong Kong and Canada but measures had been taken in some countries like Singapore to deter the rush of foreign home buyers.
One international study identified the importance of owning a property for a Chinese bride. Horizon Research Consultancy Group and World Union Property found nearly two-thirds of Chinese people buy homes before marriage.
The study of thousands of people from Shanghai, Beijing, Shenzhen and Guangzhou said 29.4 per cent would also like to buy a house in the next two years but 84 per cent said prices in China were higher than they could afford.
The average price of homes in the four cities was about 20,000 yuan ($3940) per square metre, but most of those surveyed said they could spend only 800,000 yuan, meaning they could only afford a very small place in their home country.
Hong Kong and Singapore have recently introduced foreign home-buyer cooling measures to drive away mainland China property speculators. They both did that with a special stamp duty for non-residents which Singapore introduced last December and Hong Kong this year.
New Zealand has no restrictions on non-residents buying houses. Overseas Investment Office rules only apply to properties of 5ha or more, or for deals valued at $100 million or more.By Anne Gibson @Anne Gibson Email Anne