31 March 2009
A predicted surge in population growth will have a huge impact on the housing market, says BNZ chief economist Tony Alexander.
Statistics New Zealand released figures last week that showed this yearâ€™s gain is the strongest since February 2003.
This February, the number of people moving to New Zealand was up 4.80% on a year ago. Numbers leaving were down 5.80%. Departures were down 16.60% compared to the previous month.
The average gain for the past decade has been 2,125 and this yearâ€™s gain is the strongest for the month since 6,692 in February 2003.
Based on these figures, Alexander suggests the coming year could produce a migration gain of 15,000 to 30,000 people.
â€œWhat is important is that the numbers are turning even more strongly than we have been forecasting. The net migration numbers are positive and accelerating fast.â€
The turnaround could even rival what happened in 2001, he says, when there was a hugely positive turnaround of 42,081 people.
Alexander believes, as a result of the worst recession in six decades, New Zealand will see a sizeable drop in the number of people leaving, a flood of ex-pats returning and more foreigners seeking our way of life.
â€œThese flows will boost our housing market.â€
If investors want to take advantage of the wide range of housing now on offer, Alexander advises the best bargains will be secured before the middle of the year.
He suggests home owners and investors take advantage of the low long-term interest rates, which are now unlikely to fall.
â€œI would want to pull finger, perhaps just in case we experience a migration boom.â€