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China overtakes UK with most immigrants to New Zealand

By Juwai, 02 April 2014
China Overtakes NZ

China has surpassed the UK as New Zealand’s largest group of immigrants for the first time, according to New Zealand’s Annual Migration Trends and Outlook Report.1

Inbound migration rose to a 10-year high in February 2014, when 6,100 Chinese applicants were granted citizenship.2 Last year, Chinese migrants made up 15% of the 38,961 applicants who gained resident visas. The UK and India each comprised of 13%.1

The surge of immigrants boosts housing demand and consumer spending in major cities such as Auckland, which attracted the majority of immigrants, followed by Canterbury, Otago and Wellington.2

Here are some key driving factors:


#1 Desire to diversify wealth by investing in overseas properties

6.4% of New Zealand properties are sold to overseas buyers, 25% of which are Chinese. That makes China New Zealand’s second largest source of offshore real estate sales.3

Here at, we saw Chinese buyer interest in New Zealand property increase by 89% in the calendar year of 2013, and New Zealand ranks as ninth most popular country searched by Chinese property investors.

According to Juwai data, while Auckland was the top searched city in New Zealand, followed by Dunedin, Christchurch, Wellington and Taupo, investor interest has also widened to include other lesser frequented spots like Kerikeri, Nelson, Kaiteriteri, Paihia and Gisborne.


#2 Educational opportunities

China is New Zealand’s single largest source of international students, making up 27% of its foreign student population last year.1 24,981 Chinese students enrollments in 20124 earned New Zealand a massive $746 million from tuition fees alone!5


#3 Growing bilateral ties

China outstripped Australia as New Zealand’s largest trading partner last year thanks to dairy exports, whereby milk powder made up for approximately 40% of Chinese imports.1 Furthermore, a mutual agreement now makes direct Chinese Yuan-New Zealand Dollar trading possible.

To the Chinese, the New Zealand brand is natural, attractive and high quality. With the future looking bright for Chinese eyeing New Zealand, agents looking to get in on a portion of this market best start investing in their brand and strategy in China now!



Sources: 1. The New Zealand Herald; 2. The New Zealand Herald; 3. Bank of New Zealand and Real Estate Institute of New Zealand; 4. Education New Zealand; 5. New Zealand Ministry of Education Export Education Levy Annual Report 2012-2013

[Image source: Bendemeer Estates in New Zealand by Trey Ratcliff on]