Property News

Russians now buying in New Zealand and Australia. New Zealand and Australia are fast becoming favourite spots for global billionaires.

Russians are also going Down Under too.

The Russian investors are said to be putting millions of dollars into a proposed expansion of the Porters Ski Area near Christchurch.

The Australian investor behind the $500 million Porter Heights skifield proposal has vouched for his Siberian business partners and investors.

PSA Capital, the company behind the project, is owned by Simon Thomas Harvey, of Sydney (40 per cent), and Siberians Oleg Kirillov (20 per cent) and Yuri Koropachinskiy (20 per cent).

Kirillov and Koropachinskiy are based in Krasnoyarsk, the centre of rugby in Russia.

PSA owns the shares in Blackfish, which owns the skifield and is behind the development plan for the ski area, including an alpine village, hot pools and a 1.8-kilometre gondola ski-lift.

Their dealings had started in 2005 when the Siberian businessmen, who knew Schnieder, were looking for investments and put $A2m into a real estate trust that had property in Vietnam, Thailand, Bali and Australia, Harvey said.

American Facebook billionaire Peter Thiel and Russian steel billionaire Alexander Abramov are newcomers along with Tony Malkin, whose family interests own New York's Empire State Building. He bent Prime Minister John Key's ear over Christchurch and has bought a property near Queenstown.

The billionaire Sultan of Brunei has for many years owned what used to be called BNZ Tower, once Auckland's tallest, at 125 Queen St, although this building is now a ghostly incarnation of its former self, hollowed out by the Brookfield Multiplex and all the bank staff now gone to the firm's new national headquarters directly across the road at 80 Queen St.

The Chinese, are also joining Russian and American billionaires,here too. Four years ago, the Overseas Investment Office said the purchase of Vector's Wellington network by Cheung Kong Infrastructure, run by Chinese billionaire Li Ka-shing, was the year's largest deal.

Real estate business Savills, in its latest world cities review, found global billionaires "had weathered the latest economic uncertainty better than many with ultra high net worth individuals increasingly storing their wealth in bricks and mortar.

"Safe-haven cities like New York performed particularly well. The value of billionaire property in New York increased by 17 per cent in the final half of 2011, fuelled by super-wealthy overseas buyers from Russia, China, Brazil and Argentina seeking condominium investments."


Billionaires with NZ links:

* Peter Thiel, United States
* Alexander Abramov, Russia
* Tony Malkin, United States
* Gina Rinehart, Australia
* Sultan of Brunei
* Julian Robertson, United States