Just as the wind seems to have disappeared from the real estate industry's sails, good news for sellers.

It seems China is about to relax its rules on capital outflow, meaning people in China will have an easier time getting their cash out of the country and into real estate in countries such as ours.

Wealthy Chinese also have their eye on property in the US, Australia, Thailand, Canada and the UK. Word is that 2017 could be the biggest year yet for people investing in international real estate.

It also seems the Chinese Government's crackdown on what it calls "capital flight" was done just to prove to its people that it can control things such as this (and in the process raise the value of its currency).


Having apparently proved its point, it has officially relaxed the rules. Some people might think the Chinese Government has given up trying to control its people's money.

Sales turnover dips
Estate agents have been put on notice to start considering alternative careers, unless they can hook up with major developers - fast.

Tony Alexander, chief economist at the BNZ, says that in the year to June 2016 the number of homes sold by registered real estate agents peaked at 95,000. In the year to July this year that total had fallen to 80,000.

He says: "The chances are that within a year or so the annual number will be near 65,000 with downside risk."

Alexander writes in his weekly newsletter that previous lows for sales of real estate have been 55,000 (2011) and 54,000 (2009). The peak before the GFC was 122,000 (2004) with a low before that of 65,000 (2001).

Anyone watching The Block NZ last weekend will be left in no doubt how tough the real estate game has become.

Alexander says: "Sales have been falling over the past year not because the economy has weakened, not because interest rates have risen, and not because migration has collapsed."

Sales are down from July last year because investors need a 40 per cent deposit when buying a property, banks have tightened their lending criteria, and prices, having reached their level, are now dipping in some areas.

Alexander predicts sales turnover will sink to 65,000, maybe 55,000, and says an unusually high proportion of dwelling sales will be new units - not existing ones.

"This means that real estate agents who do not have representation arranged with builders will have a major sales revenue problem."