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Chinese investors and immigrants snapping up Canterbury housing

Tags: Canterbury Residential

Canterbury’ s ethnic make-up is set to take on a distinctively Asian-feel – with a growing number of Chinese migrants and investors buying homes in the province.


The growing trend has been highlighted in latest sales data recorded by Bayleys Canterbury – which has sold 24 homes and a large number of sections to Chinese buyers over the past six months.

Five of those home sales were directly generated from the Luxury Property Showcase exhibition held in Shanghai in December last year which was attended by two salespeople from Bayleys Canterbury. The company took 18 properties up for sale to the three-day event which was attended by 5000 visitors.

The expo’ featured presentations from 90 real estate agencies from 30 countries around the world – including the UK, Dubai, Thailand, Australia, Canada and the USA.

The five New Zealand properties sold as a direct result of the Shanghai expo were:

  • A three-bedroom townhouse near Canterbury university, bought for $760,000 as an investment unit, by a woman who already owns another investment dwelling in Halswell.
  • A three-bedroom townhouse in Riccarton, bought for $890,000 as an owner/occupier residence, by a family immigrating to the city later this year.
  • A block of six two-bedroom town houses in Pegasus, bought for $2.7 million as an investment.
  • A lifestyle block in West Melton, bought for $1.2 million as an owner/occupier residence, by a family immigrating to the city later this year.
  • A four-bedroom Auckland home owned by a Christchurch investor which traded hands for $1.5 million.

Bayleys Canterbury general manager Pete Whalan said that since the Shanghai expo’, the agency had fielded a further 18 enquiries about residential listings in the province. Twelve of those were what Mr Whalan described as ‘serious leads’.

“Many of those expo’ attendees we spoke to in Shanghai were aware of the economic boom currently being experienced in the wider Canterbury region as part of the earthquake rebuild, and they are keen to be part of that from an investment perspective given the strong demand for rental accommodation,” Mr Whalan said.

“Hundreds more were simply aware of the lifestyle opportunities in the region – particularly secondary and tertiary education for their children. They had already undertaken extensive research on schools and lifestyle options at destinations on their ‘wishlist’ - often beginning on a very broad basis across multiple countries, then refining their search down to New Zealand, and further refining that destination down to Christchurch.”

Mr Whalan said the rapidly growing Chinese migrant and investment market for Canterbury was purely a numbers game – piggybacking off national figures.

Statistics from the International Organisation for Migration show that over the period from 2010–2014 some 85,447 Chinese migrants moved to New Zealand.

“While there is no definitive internal migration data once those new arrivals land in New Zealand, anecdotally we estimate that between three to five percent put down roots of some sort in Canterbury. That equates to somewhere in the region of 3,500 new residents for the province,” he said.

Latest Statistics New Zealand figures out last month show visitor arrivals from China were the fastest growing country category throughout 2014. On a national basis, some 7200 Chinese migrants settled in New Zealand in December alone.

Buoyed by the clear sales success of the last Luxury Property Showcase and now with a greater understanding of tapping in to China’s enormous ‘wealthy’ population, Mr Whalan said Bayleys Canterbury had already signed up to participate in the next expo’ taking place in Beijing in April.

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“Things have moved quite quickly in the space of a month as a result of the contacts we made in Shanghai, and we are now working with the Standard Chartered Bank which has organised a private presentation to its high net-worth clients in Beijing,” Mr Whalan said.

“We are also now in discussions with the Hong Kong Shanghai Banking Corporation to deliver a similar presentation to its high net-worth clients in Beijing when we travel up there in April,” Mr Whalan said.

“These people have just the sort of commercial muscle and investment clout which Canterbury is so hungry for and we look forward to welcoming them into our community.

“We have already signed up more property listings to take up in the next campaign in Beijing, and are confident of easily exceeding the 18 property figure we took to Shanghai.”

A research report entitled The Chinese Luxury Consumer White Paper compiled by Fuzhou-based Industrial Bank Co identified that real estate was top of the list for investment opportunities being undertaken by high net-worth Chinese individuals – coming in ahead of stocks, shares, art, private company shareholdings, and fixed income investments.

Other pertinent statistics contained within the report are that 90 percent of China’s high net-worth population intend sending their children abroad for education, 15 percent cite real estate as the primary driver of their wealth creation, and 12 percent have travelled to New Zealand on leisure trips – ahead of the UK at 10 percent.

The report also noted that almost 50 percent of China’s high net-worth individuals intend taking part in wealth-creating courses and seminars.

For further information on Canterbury residential sales to Chinese buyers, contact Pete Whalan of Bayleys Canterbury. Phone 03 375 4700.

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