Chinese buyers in rush to NZ

STEVE KILGALLON
Last updated 05:00 24/08/2014

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A website which steers Chinese buyers towards overseas real estate agents says it has seen a huge increase in cashed-up Chinese wanting to buy in New Zealand.

Andrew Taylor, chief executive of Juwai, a website which claims 1.5m users, said New Zealand had jumped from tenth to fifth - climbing countries such as Malaysia and Germany - in a year-on-year chart of where Chinese were pursuing offshore property.

The average buyer on the Juwai website, which steers property hunters towards overseas home advertisements translated into Chinese, had $AU1.6m to spend, and 71 per cent of them were prepared to pay in full in cash.

Taylor said the site fielded 900 firm New Zealand inquiries from Chinese buyers in the last two months alone and on a per capita basis, New Zealand was a clear "number one" for Chinese buyers. Surprisingly, Queenstown was one of the top-three locations they were interested in.

Taylor said he expected the interest to continue. "It's significant enough for it to be a trend, and a consistent trend and an insight into future trends," he said.

Taylor said Chinese enthusiasm for Australian property was dimming because it was perceived as over-priced compared to New Zealand: "We're finding they are finding a better lifestyle in New Zealand, and we think the NZ market has a good solid run ahead for the next 18 months".

Taylor said their statistics showed 50 per cent of Chinese living in New Zealand were very happy here, a low figure he ascribed to the younger, more transient population here compared to more established Chinese diaspora in places like the US

Juwai have signed up the LJ Hooker, Remax, Mike Pero and Ray White chains to use their website to market to Chinese buyers.

Ray White chief executive Carey Smith said, anecdotally, one-third of their property sales in Auckland now involved either an Asian buyer or seller, although it was difficult to discern exact ethnicity or how long the buyers had been here.

Smith said they were now writing listing information in Chinese, increasing their marketing in Chinese-language media and saw Juwai as an extension of that campaign. "It's a sign New Zealand property is generally more of global interest due to our dollar being strong and it being seen as a safe environment," said Smith.

"I think we're now seeing a second-generation of interest from Chinese buyers."

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