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Migration defies forecasts

Increased housing market pressure likely as new migration data shows the inflow has surged to yet another record annual high.

Monday, March 21st 2016, 12:00AM

by Miriam Bell

Statistics New Zealand latest migration data is out and it shows New Zealand’s annual net gain of migrants hit 67,400 in the February 2016 year.

This is a jump from last month’s data which showed a net gain of 65,900 migrants in the January 2016 year.

Population statistics manager Jo-Anne Skinner said it was the 19th consecutive month to show a record annual net gain.

“Migrant arrivals reached a new high of 124,200 and departures fell very slightly to 56,900.”

The seasonally adjusted monthly figures showed there was a net gain of 6,100 migrants in February 2016.

This was unchanged on January’s monthly figure, but slightly higher than the average number of migrants per month over the last six months (5,900).

However, it was down on November 2015’s record net gain of 6,300 migrants.

Westpac chief economist Dominick Stephens said net migration has gone from strength to strength over the past few years.

It has consistently defied the most bullish of forecasts, he said.

“It now looks highly likely that annual net migration will surpass 70,000 by June, taking the population growth rate to a post-1974 high of 2.1%.”

The main drivers for the migration gains continue to be very low departures of New Zealanders, and very strong arrivals of non-New Zealanders - many of whom are on student visas, Stephens said.

“Strong population growth is generating strong demand for residential construction activity and is supporting economic growth.

“Population growth is also boosting the supply side of the economy, limiting wage and inflation pressures.”

Concerns about the impact of this population growth on Auckland’s housing market remain.

The Statistics New Zealand data shows that there were 52,400 migrant arrivals in the February 2016 year, which is up 12% from the previous year.

Given Auckland’s well-recorded housing shortage, this does apply demand-side pressure to the equation. 

However, economists Julie Fry and Hayden Glass recently told media that it is expats returning to New Zealand who have a greater impact on the property market than migrants from overseas. 

They said that returning expats are more likely to purchase property, due to their existing connections to the country, while new migrants tend to rent rather than enter an unfamiliar property market.

Statistics New Zealand’s break down of migrant arrivals shows 31% were on work visas (including working holidaymakers), 25% were returning New Zealand citizens, and 23% were on student visas.

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ANZ Special - 3.55 3.55 3.99
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Credit Union Auckland 5.95 - - -
Credit Union Baywide 5.65 4.75 4.75 -
Credit Union North 6.45 - - -
Credit Union South 5.65 4.75 4.75 -
Finance Direct - - - -
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Heartland 6.70 7.00 7.25 7.85
Heartland Bank - Online - - - -
Heretaunga Building Society 5.75 4.80 4.95 -
HSBC Premier 5.24 3.54 3.54 3.69
HSBC Premier LVR > 80% - - - -
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HSBC Special - - - -
ICBC 5.15 3.18 3.18 3.20
Kainga Ora 5.18 4.04 3.95 4.39
Kiwibank ▼5.20 ▲4.20 4.30 4.64
Kiwibank - Capped - - - -
Kiwibank - Offset 5.15 - - -
Kiwibank Special - ▲3.45 3.55 3.89
Liberty 5.69 - - -
Napier Building Society - - - -
Nelson Building Society 5.70 4.25 4.15 -
Pepper Money Near Prime 5.64 - 5.44 5.44
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Pepper Money Prime 5.18 - 4.98 4.98
Pepper Money Specialist 7.59 - 7.39 7.39
Resimac 4.50 4.86 3.89 3.94
RESIMAC Special - - - -
SBS Bank 5.29 4.85 5.05 5.49
SBS Bank Special - 3.39 3.45 3.89
Sovereign 5.30 ▼3.89 ▼4.05 ▼4.39
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The Co-operative Bank - Owner Occ 5.15 3.49 3.59 3.89
The Co-operative Bank - Standard 5.15 3.99 4.09 4.39
TSB Bank 6.09 4.35 4.25 4.69
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TSB Special 5.29 3.55 3.45 3.89
Wairarapa Building Society 5.70 4.85 4.99 -
Westpac 5.34 4.15 4.09 4.49
Westpac - Offset 5.34 - - -
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Median 5.34 3.99 4.07 4.39

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