NZ hot choice for Chinese

GREG NINNESS
Last updated 05:00 21/07/2013

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New Zealand is rapidly becoming one of the top destinations for Chinese people looking to buy properties overseas, according to a major Chinese property website.

Juwai.com is the leading China-based website promoting overseas properties for wealthy buyers.

Juwai means "home overseas". It has listings for 1.6 million properties in 118 locations - with nearly 19,000 in New Zealand.

New Zealand has grown strongly in popularity on the website over the last year, and was the 15th most popular country for property searches in the last six months, compared with a year ago when it wasn't even in the top 50.

"It [New Zealand] is high on the minds of Chinese property buyers due to its natural environment, quality of food and stability of its political system. The increasing interest in real estate is across the board, from city to rural," Juwai.com co-chief executive Simon Henry said.

New Zealand areas that attracted the most interest from Chinese buyers were Auckland, followed by Dunedin, Christchurch, Wellington and Taupo.

The latest figures from Statistics NZ showed that 8473 people from China and Hong Kong arrived in this country on a permanent or long-term basis in the year to June, about the same as the previous year.

The results of a survey of real estate agents the BNZ released this month suggested that nine per cent of all dwelling sales were to overseas buyers, and of those the biggest group were Australians, accounting for 22 per cent of sales to foreigners, followed by Chinese buyers at 20 per cent.

However, the number of sales to Chinese buyers may be higher in the overheated Auckland market, where anecdotal reports suggest they may be dominating the market in certain suburbs.

Juwai.com groups New Zealand with Australia, the UK, France, Malaysia, Cyprus and Costa Rica as countries which experienced "a new wave of interest in the second half of 2012," the company said.

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