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Property saves the day

By Graeme Hunt

Friday 18th July 2003

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Property, often criticised by commentators as a poor investment, is largely responsible for the surge in New Zealand private wealth in the past year.

In this, the 18th Rich List produced by The National Business Review or associated publications, the collective fortunes of 157 individuals and 37 families total nearly $18.4 billion, an increase of more than $3.2 billion in 12 months.

This is the largest year-on-year increase since the Rich List first appeared in 1986 (the previous largest rise was during the 1986-87 sharemarket bubble).

Few major businesses have been formed in the past 12 months but the increase in property values has benefited property developers and investors alike, compensating for weak share prices.

This tends to scotch the advice from politicians and financial planners on how people should save and increase their personal wealth.

Since 1840, despite odd downturns, property has proved New Zealanders' most reliable investment vehicle.

The absence of a capital gains tax is one reason for Kiwis' preference for property but they also seem to share an emotional attachment to the land.

Whether this is good for the country is a matter of debate but property pays its way when it comes to personal wealth-creation.

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