Returning Kiwis set to turn heat on house prices

JOSH MARTIN
Last updated 05:00 31/01/2014

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Hordes of Australian-based New Zealanders returning home this year will put further demand on an already hot property market, economists are predicting.

ASB economist Daniel Smith said yesterday's net migration figure of 22,000 for the 2013 year was fuelled by "a continued surge in the number of New Zealanders returning from Australia".

That rolling annual figure was at levels not seen since December 1990, he said.

Statistics NZ figures showed a seasonally adjusted net gain of 2800 migrants for the month of December 2013, a stable trend since September 2013, after an increase from zero in December 2012.

Smith said Auckland appeared to be taking in the largest share of net migration.

Last year Auckland gained a net 10,928 migrants, while Christchurch migration patterns appear to have stabilised over recent months, gaining about 400 people a month in the past year. Smith said the pattern of migrants concentrated in two major cities would put further pressure on house prices.

"House building in the region should accelerate over 2014, but demand for housing, combined with low levels of new listings, will maintain upwards pressure on house prices," he said.

Auckland Council said annual consents in its area surpassed 6000 for the first time since 2008.

Statistics NZ figures showed there were still more New Zealanders leaving for Australia than arriving from Australia with a net loss of 19,600 migrants across the Tasman last year.

That is still well down from a 38,800 net loss to Australia in 2012.

Net gains were recorded from most other countries, led by Britain and China, with inflows of 5800 and 5700 people, respectively.

International visitor arrivals hit a monthly record for December of 381,000 to cap off a yearly record for 2013.

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- BusinessDay

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