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Chinese buyers snap up Kiwi real estate

Published: 8:02PM Monday March 17, 2014 Source: ONE News

Chinese buyers have overtaken Australians as the largest foreign group purchasing property in New Zealand.

The latest figures from the Bank of New Zealand show 6.4% of houses are sold to overseas buyers with 25% of those Chinese.

Buyers from China are big business for one Auckland real estate agent office.

"I'd say my ratio is about five to one," says Remuera real estate agent Eric Chase.

"In fact what we've done here is we've got a Mandarin speaking auctioneer who works with me and we basically duel it out during the auctions."

Mr Chase admits it is hard to know whether the Chinese buyers he sees live in New Zealand.

"All I can really tell you is what their ethnicity is," he said.

"I can't really tell you whether they've been in the country 20 years or five minutes."

However, auctioneer Adam Wang speaks to many buying purely for investment.

"They see the housing market is booming and that you have a rather ambiguous standard when it comes to tax gain, capital tax gain," says Mr Wang.

A Chinese based website promoting overseas real estate says interest in New Zealand properties is growing faster than any other country.

Six months ago New Zealand didn't even feature in its first 50 searches, now it's number 15 with around 8,000 Kiwi homes listed.

The Government says it has no plans to restrict home ownership by foreigners but ONE News understands Finance Minister Bill English has requested more information on such sales.

The sale of real estate to overseas buyers is also shaping up to be an election issue this year with Labour, the Greens and New Zealand First all having policies restricting foreign ownership.