Decline in foreign buyers - LINZ

Friday 24 February 2017

Foreign buyer numbers dropped in the last three months of 2016, the latest Land Information New Zealand (LINZ) property transfer data reveals.

By Miriam Bell

People with overseas tax residency were responsible for just two percent of property transfers in the October to December 2016 quarter, according to the LINZ data.

Over that time, there was a total of 50,814 property transfers and foreign buyers were responsible for 1,128 of them.

LINZ deputy chief executive Russell Turner said this equated to a slight drop in the number of overseas tax resident buyers.

“They were involved in two percent of property transfers in October to December, as compared to the three percent they were involved in the first three quarters of 2016.”

In Auckland, there was a total of 14,352 sales in the last quarter of 2016 and overseas tax residents accounted for 519 of those sales.

Turner said this meant that four percent of Auckland property transfers between October to December involved foreign buyers.

This was the same percentage as that recorded in the data from the July to September 2016 quarter, which was a drop on the five percent in the April to June quarter.

Chinese tax residents were again the biggest group of overseas tax residents to buy property in both New Zealand and in Auckland.

They were responsible for 363 property purchases nationally and 294 in Auckland between October and December.

The LINZ data, which has now been released for four consecutive quarters, has proved controversial in the past with the Labour Party labelling it selective and misleading.

After the July to September 2016 quarter data was released, Labour Party housing spokesperson Phil Twyford said that if students and temporary workers were included in the data, 13% of sales were to foreign buyers.

This time round Turner said that to help find out more about property transfers in New Zealand buyers and sellers are now being asked to provide information about their citizenship or visa status.

“LINZ has also improved the way this information is gathered so that the next report, covering January to March 2017 will show transfers involving work or student visa holders.”

Meanwhile, the LINZ data might show that foreign buyer numbers are down but New Zealand property remains a top pick for Chinese buyers.

Juwai.com, which is China’s largest international property real estate portal, has just released its latest list of the top 10 countries Chinese buyers are looking at and New Zealand is fourth in views and fifth in enquiries.

According to Juwai, Chinese enquiries about New Zealand property grew by 50% in the year to September 2016.

By October, 2016, total Chinese enquiries and views for New Zealand were up 80% and 127%, respectively, year-on-year.

Auckland remains Chinese buyers’ first choice when it comes to New Zealand cities. Christchurch and Queenstown are in second and third places.

Read more:

Foreign buyers biggest market influence – poll  

Argument rages over foreign buyer data  

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