New Zealand Annual Immigration Rises to Two-Year High

June 24, 2009

New Zealand’s annual immigration increased to a two-year high, which may stoke consumer spending and housing demand and help the economy recover from a recession. The number of permanent migrant arrivals exceeded departures by 11,202 in the year through May, Statistics New Zealand said in a report released today in Wellington. That’s more than 9,176 in the 12 months ended April and is the highest annual tally since April 2007. A net 2,690 migrants arrived in May alone, which is the highest monthly reading since July 2003 and comes as fewer New Zealand residents shift overseas. Reserve Bank Governor Alan Bollard said this month the economy may resume growing in the fourth quarter, ending the worst recession in more than three decades. Rising immigration may provide a boost to domestic demand and the property market, he said in his quarterly monetary policy statement. “The gain in migration represents a tangible positive ingredient for underlying housing demand,” said Robin Clements, chief economist at UBS AG in Christchurch. “The drag that housing has placed on GDP growth is set to fade.” Lower mortgage interest rates helped drive a 44 percent increase in house sales in May from a year earlier, the Real Estate Institute said. Home-building approvals rose for the second time in three months in April.