South East Asians poised to invest in New Zealand property
Leading New Zealand real estate agency Bayleys is undertaking a number of visits to Asia this month to capitalise on what managing director Mike Bayley describes as a groundswell of interest in New Zealand property out of South-East Asia and China.
Bayley says offshore Asian investors have clearly been watching the New Zealand property market over the last year or so - making the occasional purchase, but there has been a noticeable step up in activity recently, with a number of large transactions concluded and some even bigger deals likely to be announced over the next few months.
“The Asians are classic counter-cyclical investors and now that there is strong evidence that New Zealand’s property markets have turned the corner, we are starting to see some serious investment action out of Asia,” Mike Bayley said.
“Currently, we have close to NZ$300 million worth of property under contract or negotiation to offshore Asian buyers, the largest of which is subject to OIO (Overseas Investment Office) approval.
“As a result of this we have decided to make Asia the main focus of our offshore marketing thrust for the remainder of the year, and will be actively presenting properties on behalf of their New Zealand vendors to investors in the region.”
Bayleys’ international director James Chan and company principal David Bayley are currently visiting Guangzhou in southern China, the country’s third most populous metropolitan region - estimated to be home to more than 14 million people.
Later in the month, a key-client cocktail function will be held in conjunction with Bayleys’ international affiliate Cushman & Wakefield in Singapore on August 26, followed by a New Zealand property expo’ and seminars over the weekend of August 27 and 28.
This will be followed by
a visit to Shanghai where a function and presentation on New
Zealand property will be held for key clients of Bayleys and
Cushman & Wakefield on September 2. Bayleys will be taking a
portfolio of commercial and industrial, rural and
high-end residential property to present at these functions and expo’s. Further visits, property presentations and seminars will be held in South-East Asia and Dubai later in the year.
James Chan, who heads Bayleys’ multilingual international sales team, says concerns that their own property markets may be starting to overheat again have prompted an increasing number of Asian investors to diversify their property holdings into other parts of the world - such as Australia and New Zealand.
Asian property markets rebounded much more quickly from the global financial crisis than most other parts of the world. In Singapore, for example, where GDP growth surged by close to 15% in 2010, the value of commercial property sales was also up 360 percent on the previous year, according to Cushman & Wakefield’s annual international investment atlas.
In an effort to dampen down an overheated property market in China, the government there has introduced borrowing and buying restrictions including a tax on the purchase of investment properties (other than the first home) in fast growing cities such as Shanghai and Chongqing. Chan says this has led to some investors looking for opportunities instead in New Zealand.
“While these may be only temporary restrictions in China, New Zealand’s appeal as an attractive long-term investment destination is continuing to grow,” he said.
“Chinese investors are becoming more aware of New Zealand as our business relationship with China strengthens on the back of the free trade agreement between the two countries.
“Chinese investment in major sectors of our economy - such as agriculture and energy - also gives property investors comfort that New Zealand is a good place to invest. New Zealand is seen as a safe haven, both from an investment and lifestyle point of view, in an increasingly turbulent world.”