New Zealand's natural beauty, healthy employment market and a property supply ripe for the picking has become a major drawcard for a growing number of French investors.

The number of French interested in buying Kiwi land has grown enough to warrant one locally based Frenchman to establish a French real-estate business. Domaines New Zealand caters to a 100 per cent French clientele.

Company founder and director Jean-Michel Hauter, originally from Alsace, said he often encouraged his clients to buy hotels and apartments as the property market here was saturated with buyers.

"This way they are not competing with the local market, they are supporting the tourist industry." He said 70 per cent of his clients bought into the apartment and hotel markets which they then leased on to tenants, such as the Ramada hotel chain with interest in places such as Queenstown, Rotorua and Christchurch.


The remaining 30 per cent were those looking to settle in New Zealand.

The 2013 Census showed 4593 people of French origin living in NZ, up 20.3 per cent on the previous Census.

"The French just love New Zealand, they love the country and they love the way of living," said Mr Hauter. "People are attracted to the beauty of the landscape and the friendly, warm and welcoming locals."

He said the growth of French interest in New Zealand had been substantial enough to help him upsize from the original office he established in his Titirangi home 11 years ago to one in the central Auckland suburb of Grey Lynn with a team of eight.

This team at Domaines New Zealand provided for about 40 per cent of the French markets, selling on average 80 properties a year that were valued from $200,000 to $1 million.

Yann Breteche, 46, is a client who wants not only to invest his money in New Zealand property but also to establish a life for his family in NZ.

He lives with wife Valerie, also 46, and three children - Luca, 16, Rozenn, 14 and Katell 12 - in the Coromandel Peninsula town of Whitianga.

Although they live on a boat at present, they have bought land 20 minutes out of Whitianga on which they hope to build their new house.


Meanwhile Mr Breteche, who has owned supermarkets back in France, also plans to buy into hotels around NZ.

The couple, originally from the French region of Brittany, hope New Zealand will be their permanent home.

Mrs Breteche said "the nice scenery, the nice people and the nice way of life" were the major attractions of Kiwi life.