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Migrant flow hits new highs – for now

Pressure on housing demand is set to continue as the latest Statistics New Zealand data shows migration has jumped back up to record highs.

Friday, October 21st 2016, 4:00PM

by Miriam Bell

The annual net gain of migrants arriving in New Zealand hit yet another new record of 70,000 in the September 2016 year, according to the Statistics New Zealand data.

Statistics New Zealand population statistics manager Jo-Anne Skinner said this surpasses the previous record of 69,100 migrants in the August 2016 year.

"The annual net gain reflects record high migrant arrivals and fewer migrant departures. Most of the arrivals are people coming in with work visas, which also includes working holidaymakers.”

New Zealand citizens returning to live in New Zealand also accounted for a significant portion of the migrant arrivals.

It was not only the annual migrant net gain figure that reached new highs in September.

In recent months the monthly migrant net gain figure has plateaued. Since reaching a peak of 6,200 migrants in November 2015, the seasonally adjusted net gain in migrants has averaged 5,700 a month.

But, in September, the monthly migrant net gain figure surpassed that peak, jumping up to 6,300 migrants.

This increase has surprised commentators who have previously noted that the monthly figure was trending down and have suggested the migration boom was past its peak. 

Westpac senior economist Anne Boniface said there was a huge lift in monthly net migration flows in September.

It was the largest monthly net inflow on record and a much stronger outturn than they had anticipated, she said.

“We have for some time been expecting annual net migration to slow gradually from mid-year as foreigners who arrived on temporary work or student visas over the past three years start to depart.

“And certainly arrivals of those on student visas have slowed noticeably on tighter enforcement of entrance criteria.

“For now, this is being swamped by a lift in arrivals of those on work visas, which were up 14% in September on a year ago.”

Some commentators are not convinced the new record levels will continue in the long term.

Infometrics economist Mieke Welvaert pointed out that strong demand for New Zealand resident visas recently led the government to tighten up immigration requirements.

This involved raising the number of points for eligibility, reducing the number of places available in the capped family categories, and temporarily removing the parent visa option.

Total resident visa approvals currently sit at around 52,000 per annum, while parent visas account for about 1,300 resident visas a year, she said.

“So when combined with the other two rule changes, it is likely that Immigration New Zealand will meet their target of 42,500-47,500 approvals per year by 2018.”

Welvaert said today’s data showed that, after falling from a peak in July, annual arrival numbers have exhibited another growth spurt in recent months. 

“However, we believe arrival numbers are on track to lose their momentum, especially from the middle of next year given the tighter resident visa requirements.”

 

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AIA 5.35 4.49 5.25 5.55
ANZ 5.54 5.15 5.85 6.15
ANZ Blueprint to Build 2.78 - - -
ANZ Special - 4.55 5.25 5.55
ASB Bank 5.35 4.49 5.25 5.55
Avanti Finance 5.45 - - -
Basecorp Finance 6.45 - - -
Bluestone 5.29 7.49 7.59 -
BNZ - Classic - 4.55 5.25 5.45
BNZ - Mortgage One 5.55 - - -
BNZ - Rapid Repay 5.55 - - -
Lender Flt 1yr 2yr 3yr
BNZ - Std, FlyBuys 5.55 5.35 5.94 5.99
BNZ - TotalMoney 5.55 - - -
CFML Loans ▲6.45 - - -
China Construction Bank 5.50 5.40 6.14 6.40
China Construction Bank Special - 4.45 5.19 5.45
Credit Union Auckland 5.95 - - -
First Credit Union Special 5.85 4.70 5.20 -
Heartland Bank - Online 4.00 3.85 4.70 4.84
Heretaunga Building Society 5.95 4.80 5.50 -
HSBC Premier 5.49 4.39 5.15 5.39
HSBC Premier LVR > 80% - - - -
Lender Flt 1yr 2yr 3yr
HSBC Special - - - -
ICBC 5.25 ▲4.29 ▲5.09 ▲5.35
Kainga Ora ▲5.43 ▲4.57 ▲5.58 ▲5.85
Kainga Ora - First Home Buyer Special - 2.25 - -
Kiwibank 5.00 5.55 6.19 6.39
Kiwibank - Offset 5.00 - - -
Kiwibank Special 5.00 4.55 5.19 5.39
Liberty 4.84 - - -
Nelson Building Society 5.95 4.95 5.85 -
Pepper Essential 3.44 - - -
Resimac 4.59 5.60 6.16 6.29
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SBS Bank 5.29 4.69 5.35 5.49
SBS Bank Special - 4.19 4.85 4.99
Select Home Loans 4.09 4.29 4.86 5.09
The Co-operative Bank - First Home Special - ▲4.19 - -
The Co-operative Bank - Owner Occ 5.45 ▲4.29 5.19 5.45
The Co-operative Bank - Standard 5.45 ▲4.79 5.69 5.95
TSB Bank 5.59 ▼5.14 6.05 6.15
TSB Special 4.79 ▼4.34 5.25 5.35
Unity 5.65 ▲4.80 ▲5.50 -
Wairarapa Building Society 5.24 4.55 5.20 -
Westpac 5.54 5.09 5.79 6.09
Lender Flt 1yr 2yr 3yr
Westpac - Offset 5.54 - - -
Westpac Special - 4.49 5.19 5.49
Median 5.45 4.55 5.25 5.52

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