The coronavirus outbreak is prompting Chinese to investigate buying New Zealand properties as boltholes, according to a Chinese website, despite this country's foreign buyer ban.
Georg Chmiel, executive chairman of Juwai IQI, said: "Chinese online and social media real estate buying inquiries in New Zealand have jumped 32 per cent during the period of the coronavirus. Only Vietnam is seeing a bigger increase, up 43 per cent."
But the Chinese were only looking online and not visiting here in person, he said.
"On-the-ground and in-person Chinese buyer activity in New Zealand will remain low as consumers restrict their travel and their public activities," he said.
Demand for New Zealand property always heated up when the global outlook turned down, he said.
The Government introduced a ban on non-citizens and non-residents buying residential and lifestyle properties in this country in 2018.
Chmiel said Chinese saw New Zealand as an extremely appealing place.
"It's the classic safe place during a global crisis. New Zealand is a haven with an appealing lifestyle, clean environment and clean food and water. It is far from most other places and safe. All of these factors make it most appealing during times of extremity. Some Chinese are looking at New Zealand boltholes for the same reasons wealthy Americans like Peter Thiel have bought homes there," Chmiel said.
Japan, Singapore and the UAE rank very poorly for health security with the Chinese, he said.
One of the reasons Chinese were scouting our real estate listings was because they were having to stay inside.
"Chinese consumers are bored and online. Some nations are seeing online and social media Chinese buyer inquiries increase for cross-border real estate during this crisis," he said, citing this country along with Vietnam, Singapore, Germany and Australia.
"We estimate the likely impact of the epidemic on Chinese cross-border property buying will not last longer than the outbreak itself," he said.