FLASHBACK: BNZ-REINZ survey finds low percentage of foreign buyers

Controversy over Labour's new policy to restrict foreign home buyers - quick dubbed the #ChanBan by Twitter wags - has seen renewed discussion of the May 2013 BNZ-REINZ Residential Market Survey, based on data collected from REINZ-licensed real estate agents.

With a dearth of data from the government on the topic, it seems the best indicator we have at present (unless land is sensitive or unsually large for its area, Overseas Investment Office approval is not needed for deals below $100 million).

It's first key point on foreign ownership is that 8% of sales (by the surveyed agents) went to offshore buyers (down on 9% in a similar survey last year, and a minority of the 19% who said they were investment buyers).

It's second is that most of those offshore buyers told their real estate agent they intended to settle in New Zealand.

That left 3.6% of total home buyers who were located offshore, and had no intention of shifting to NZ.

That 3.6% broke down as follows:

Why the popular perception that the figure is much higher than 3.6%?

Around 40% of Aucklanders are born overseas so the perception of foreign buyers is a lot higher than the reality, Finance Minister Bill English said today.

Many buyers or open home browsers pegged as "foreign" by casual real estate industry observers are in fact NZ residents, outside the scope of Labour's proposed policy. 

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