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Govt property plans of New Zealand will attract Chinese investors
An adviser to Chinese property players in Auckland believes many developers and investors in her home country will be interested to hear of moves to free up Crown land in the city.
 
Pauline Gao works as a marketer with Chinese-funded apartment projects in Albany, Westgate, Eden Terrace and Mt Wellington.
 
She plans to go back to China in early June and would be talking to a commercial property group of about 500 members.
 
She said they and developers in other countries would be interested to hear that the New Zealand Government was looking at up to 500ha of surplus Crown land for potential housing, and setting up a $52.2 million fund to partner with private developers.
 
"That's why they want to see me and see if I can find some deals with the Government. They are pretty big investors.
 
"I'm sure the amount of overseas investment, not only from China but other countries as well, will increase.
 
While Auckland land and building materials were considered expensive, Gao said the developers she dealt with were still attracted to the city's lifestyle and multi-cultural make-up.
 
"The majority reason is there is a very high demand [for housing] and people just love the country."
 
The US, the UK and Australia had also been popular locations for Chinese developers but New Zealand's appeal was growing.
 
"Once they visited New Zealand they got impressed."
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Gao thought the investors would "definitely" set aside a portion as affordable houses if that was a stipulation.
 
The Property Institute, which represents valuers, describes the Government's move as "a hugely significant initiative which will make a big dent in Auckland's supply problem'.
 
But chief executive Ashley Church warned that the houses would not necessarily be cheap.
 
"There's no suggestion that the Government or private developers are proposing to subsidise the price of these houses – so people shouldn't expect a sudden flurry of 'cheap homes' coming onto the market in 2017 or 2018"
 
PwC property expert Richard Forgan said the Government's move to "bring some of its own land into the frame" would be "useful, but it is not large in terms of the imbalance between demand and supply".

Fairfax New Zealand
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