New Zealand’s Immigration Minister, Michael Woodhouse, has rejected claims that immigration is a key factor in causing property prices in the country to rise.
In recent months, property prices in some areas of New Zealand – particularly the Auckland and Canterbury regions – have been rising at record levels, causing many experts to warn that the increases are unsustainable and that NZ could be facing a property bubble.
Last month, the New Zealand Green Party suggested that a new tax should be implemented non-NZ residents who buy a property in the country. However, Minister Woodhouse told TVNZ’s Q&A programme yesterday that the property prices were not in any way related to immigration.
“I wouldn’t accept that,” he said. “We need skills and we are a migrant nation – we have always relied on immigration. It’s really important, I think, that people don’t judge what’s going on by how many Asian faces there are at the local auction. I’m not sure it’s true to say that immigration at the moment is driving up the price of houses.”
The Minister pointed to recent figures which showed that only around 9 per cent of houses in NZ were owned by non-residents, and that of those, half the owners intended to come to New Zealand soon. Of the rest, there were as many non-residents selling houses as there were buying them.