The chief economist for the Bank of New Zealand, Tony Alexander, has called on his government to require foreigners to build new homes, rather than buy existing Auckland houses, following reports that nearly 40% of 4,000 property transactions in Auckland in the three months to the end of April involved people of Chinese descent.

This proportion compares with a population share in the city of just 9% in the 2013 census.

In a recent newsletter, Alexander suggested that New Zealand would benefit by following Australia’s example of putting restrictions on foreign buyers.

“We should as soon as possible adopt Australia’s rules restricting foreign buying of anything other than new housing unless resident for 12 months,” Alexander wrote.

Auckland at night