Chinese buyers of Auckland property aren't leaving their houses empty and most of them aren't simply buying to rent out, according to data collected by a Chinese-based real estate website.
Juwai.com has seen a surge of interest from Chinese buyers keen on the New Zealand market, spokesman Dave Platter told NZME. News Service today.
The website has surveyed its users and found 36 per cent of people spoken to bought property in New Zealand for investment.
34 per cent bought for immigration, 18 per cent for education and 7 per cent lifestyle - a total of 59 per cent.
The rest bought for other reasons.
Mr Platter wouldn't provide exact figures for reasons of commercial sensitivity, but he spoke out on the benefits of foreign investment, saying it was responsible for "so much wealth and prosperity at the moment".
"International buyers have been really good for New Zealand, bringing billions of dollars of investment and relayed spending to the economy."
His comments come after the Labour Party released leaked figures over the weekend showing people with Chinese names were snapping up real estate in Auckland at a rate far and above their proportion of the population.
Labour has since faced allegations of playing the political race card, while it calls on the government to introduce a foreign buyers register.
Mr Plattter said he was unsure if the debate in New Zealand had caused Chinese buyers to think twice about investing here.
"I haven't talked to the call centre about this issue this week, but I think, based on past experience, that it probably hasn't made much of an impact yet.
"Usually they respond to changes in policy unless there's something pretty awful."
Juwai.com also tracks buyer activity through its site, measuring information such as referrals to agents and checking listings, and found New Zealand had jumped from number 12 to number five.
But Mr Platter cautioned against reading too much into this, because countries moved around all the time.
For example, Singapore sat at number five a year ago and was now in 10th position after changing its foreign buyers' rules.