Chinese buyer appetite for New Zealand property remains strong because this country's real estate is "good value", a real estate chief says, but we have slipped in popularity lately.

Jane Lu, Australia and New Zealand chief for Chinese real estate business Juwai, said for Chinese buyers, New Zealand ranked as the sixth most popular country globally, behind the United States, Australia, Thailand, Canada and the United Kingdom.

But in 2015 and 2016, New Zealand ranked as the fifth most popular with Chinese buyers, Juwai's figures showed: the rankings then were the US, Australia, Canada, the UK and New Zealand.

The numbers were based on consumer buying inquiries made with Juwai.

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"The fact that we still have so many Chinese buying in New Zealand shows that they still have the money and the interest. When you compare the price of similar property in China and New Zealand, the latter still offers good value," Lu said.

"Despite tighter capital controls this year, 57 per cent of Chinese still say they will increase their overseas investments over the next two years, with more than 60 per cent planning to invest specifically in residential real estate," she said.

"Their top goals are risk diversification and their children's education. Australia is a very appealing destination in both these areas.

"For the buyers we work with, Australia is the second most popular country in the world for investment. These trends will provide an underlying strength to demand in New Zealand over the long term," she said.

"Our recent report on Chinese international property buying concluded that Chinese buyer demand globally is likely to make 2017 one of the two or three biggest years on record for Chinese buyer demand. That's despite it dipping from last year.

"And 2016 saw an unprecedented level of Chinese international real estate purchases: $101.4 billion, according to our estimate in the report," she said.

In the past two years, property investors reported how bidding at Auckland residential auctions from people based in China has reduced significantly and competition was not as strong.

Last year, Juwai said Chinese buyers were showing a growing appetite for New Zealand properties, with inquiries jumping by 50 per cent on Juwai.com, the biggest portal for Chinese searching here for properties.

Chinese people made 50 per cent more property buying inquiries in August than in the same month last year, Juwai said last September. That contrasts with January last year, when the number of Chinese buyers declined.

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In 2015, the Herald reported how real estate figures leaked to the Labour Party and covering almost 4000 house sales during a three-month period indicated people of Chinese descent accounted for 39.5 per cent of the transactions in Auckland.

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