The percentage of residential properties sold to overseas buyers increased slightly in the fourth quarter of last year, in spite of new rules restricting the ability of overseas persons to buy residential property in this country, which came into force on October 22.
Statistics NZ said 2.3% of sales in Q4 last year were to overseas persons, compared to 2.0% in Q3 last year.
But the Q4 figures were lower compared to a year earlier, with 2.9% of sales going to overseas persons in Q4 2017.
Central Auckland remains the most popular area for overseas buyers to purchase a property, with 13.7% of sales in Auckland's Waitemata Ward going to overseas buyers in Q4 2018.
That compares with 9.8% in Q3 2018 and 13.3% in Q4 2017.
The Waitemata Ward includes the CBD and central suburbs such as Grey Lynn, Ponsonby, Herne Bay, Freemans Bay, Parnell and Newmarket.
The second most popular area for overseas buyers was Auckland's Upper Harbour with 9.8% of sales being to overseas buyers in Q4 2018, up from 8.9% in Q3 2018 and almost unchanged from Q4 2017 when 9.7% of sales were to overseas buyers.
Across the Auckland region, 4.9% of sales were to overseas buyers in Q4 2018, up from 4.0% in Q3 but down from 6.0% in Q4 2018.
Outside of Auckland the only areas to record sales above 3% to overseas buyers in Q4 2018 were Hamilton 3.6%, Queenstown-Lakes 3.7% and Invercargill 3.2%.
However, the statistics probably only paint a partial picture of overseas buyer activity in this country because they only include data on properties purchased directly by individuals.
The statistics do not include purchases made by overseas persons through a corporate entity such as a company, and probably do not capture most of the purchases made by overseas persons through a trust.