A rise in immigration numbers in September is seen as a good sign for the housing market.
Statistics NZ says Seasonally adjusted net permanent and long-term migration, calculated as arrivals minus departures, was 1,100 in September, a gain on the 900 recorded for both July and August.
Before the return to growth, permanent migrant number had fallen from 1,800 in January to 200 in June. Net outflow of New Zealanders to Australia in the September was 18,100. Net migration for the September year was 13,900
This is the third month around the 1000 per month level, a sharp change from monthly rates that were approaching 200 in mid-2010.
"We anticipate an improvement in the housing market."
"The result should underpin housing demand and remove some of the downside risks to the housing market," Westpac says.
However immigration is no silver bullet to the housing sector:
The housing market has weakened substantially over 2010, due to pre-existing overvaluation, unfavourable tax changes, rising mortgage rates, and low net migration, Westpac says.
In recent months there have been abrupt changes with mortgage rates falling and migration accelerating
"We anticipate some improvement in the housing market, which could become apparent late this year or early next. Don't get too excited - in this environment, "improvement" could mean we go from falling prices to flat."