Migration out of New Zealand looks to have started to slow but BNZ chief economist Tony Alexander says it’s too soon to gauge its impact on house prices yet.
By Susan Edmunds
New Zealand had a seasonally-adjusted net gain of 200 migrants in May 2012, according to the latest Statistics New Zealand figures.
This follows a net loss of 800 migrants in April. Christchurch returned to pre-quake levels - 400 people settled in Christchurch last month, up from just 100 in May 2011.
It's the first monthly decline in migration since April 2010.
But there was still a net loss of 3700 migrants in the May 2012 year, down from 4100 in the year to February.
Alexander said that flow out of the country would be a drag on house prices.
“On average over the last 10 years we have had a net annual migration gain, so we are well below that average. But I’ve long been of the opinion that the migration numbers and their significance are more than swamped by a housing shortage, investor and young buyer demand.”
He said house prices would really start to be affected migration numbers turned around for six months or more in a row.
“When we are consistently back in positive territory then that will be interesting."
The net loss of migrants to Australia in the May 2012 year was 39,600. The highest-ever net loss to Australia was in the April 2012 year (39,800).
Until this month, annual net outflows to Australia had been at record levels. In the May 2012 year, there were 53,400 departures to Australia, offset by 13,800 arrivals from Australia. Most migrants were New Zealand citizens.
There were net gains of migrants from most other countries, led by the United Kingdom (5,500), India (5200), and China (5000).