Christchurch’s reputation as being the most ‘English’ of New Zealand cities is set to be further enhanced – with a large group of British immigrants set to head down-under in the coming year.
Leading real estate agency Bayleys has just completed its annual UK marketing initiatives – tempting British and European immigrants to relocate to New Zealand with the promise of a better life and greater opportunities.
The UK tour featured an eight centre farming seminar series, and attendance at two of Britain’s biggest immigration expos – in Manchester and London – which attracted some 8000 people.
Christchurch was jointly represented at the events by Bayleys Canterbury chairman Bill Whalan, and Bayleys Canterbury sales manager Richard Peter, who said he was highly encouraged by the number of skilled and motivated UK and European citizens attending the immigration expos and expression a specific desire to move to Canterbury.
“As a result of the immigration expos, we know of 56 people planning to move to the Canterbury region. Some of those will have children, so the total number could well exceed 70 new migrants,” Mr Peter said.
“When you consider that they will be buying homes, cars, consumer items, taking up employment, attending local schools and joining local clubs, their financial input into the wider Canterbury community could total tens of millions of dollars worth of economic benefit for the region.”
Mr Peter said many of those attending the immigration expos commented that England was too overcrowded, and that education at good schools was now becoming too expensive for ‘ordinary’ middle-class families. Many attendees had already purchased their flights to New Zealand to start looking more closely at opportunities.
“We noted that attendees at the expos this year had completed a lot more documentation before they visited us than the group last year. Registration to attend the expos was *15 per person (approximately NZ$32) which reflects their high level of motivation to find out more about moving to New Zealand,* he said.
“We found increased interest in lifestyle blocks and land packages this year. A family who had flown from Switzerland specifically for the Expo is now dealing with me over a piece of land in North Canterbury which was marketed in Bayleys’ Preview UK magazine.
“Another family that came from their British Army base in Germany for the expo had already been on the Bayleys website to look at properties. They had decided that they wanted to be in Christchurch’s Cashmere High School zone, so are now looking at properties in that area.”
Meanwhile in the farming sector, Mr Whalan said there was a growing interest from the UK in New Zealand farm ownership as a strategic investment, rather than as a lifestyle choice. Farming presentations were held in England, Wales and Scotland – with one couple from Northern Ireland getting up at 4am to travel across the Irish Sea to attend a three-hour seminar.
“There was a strong current of investors looking at New Zealand rural opportunities – with some enquiring about equity partnerships. We have identified a number of UK farmers with significant investment potential - including two who can invest around NZ $10 million,” Mr Whalan said.
“From the in-depth conversations we had, it was clear they had undertaken a considerable amount of due diligence on New Zealand’s farming sector, as they had identified Canterbury and the Waikato as the two premier dairy production regions where they could see good returns in the long term.
“They were fully aware of current milk solid payout levels, but had taken a far more pragmatic longer-term view based on forecast consumer trends for dairy products, and were geared to buy New Zealand farms in the near future while farm pricing levels on realistically priced units are lower than they have been for quite some years.”