how to buy a house in new zealand

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New Zealand is well supported by an economy that is still growing, and while the country depends to a large extent on the export market, they have a vast array of international trading partners, thereby reducing their dependence on any one country or currency.
While in the short term there are concerns about a “correction”, the New Zealand economy is well positioned for the future, as is the property market that still offers attractive long term potential.
The New Zealand economy and housing market continues to power ahead, despite the recent rise in interest rates to 7.75% – very high by historic standards.
The problem is that the attractive interest rates are attracting speculators who are buying the New Zealand currency, which has indirectly squeezed house prices higher.
When we found mildly interesting properties, we had to attend the open houses (often as short as 30 minutes!) or call the selling agent and arrange a visit to get any real sense of the property.
So, while you might not buy a house for the rated value, you can at least see how the rated values of two properties compare, which direction they changed (up or down) last time, and the values of the houses on the block.
Most properties are listed exclusively with one selling agency, and so to find available properties you need to review the listings of each agency, such as LJHooker or Harcourts or one of many local agencies.
New houses here are being built to fairly “normal” modern standards (see the Department of Building and Housing site for more details), but even moderately older houses may startle you with their lack of basic features such as central heating, insulation, dampness protection, safe wiring, full pressure hot water, and so on.
Absolutely! Just like the market, there are all types of rental property available in all locations – from inner-city apartments in the major metropolitan centres, through to beachside mansions and even rural properties deep in the countryside.
Many people who purchase property in New Zealand choose to take short-term accommodation such as a serviced apartment or short-term lease to give them time to have a good look around before they buy.
You can find latest property research reports on our website as well as a selection of recent sales to give you an indication of what New Zealand property is worth.
Once the agreed ‘settlement date’ is reached and the respective solicitors confirm all terms have been met, and that there is clear title, the property ‘settles’ (when the buyer pays the remainder of the purchase price and in return receives the keys for their new property).
The vast majority of property in New Zealand is sold through real estate agents.
A good agent will work with you to find the right property – taking you through the process in a professional manner.
Many international purchasers are surprised when first buying property in New Zealand how easy the process actually is.
However because of the various sale processes operating in the New Zealand real estate market – such as auction, tender, or expressions of interest – it is commonplace that prices may not feature on all listings.
Buying and selling property in New Zealand is a surprisingly simple and inexpensive process.
Bank processing of mortgage applications is highly efficient, and mortgage finance can be arranged within as little as 24 hours – with most major banks even providing ‘mobile lending managers’ who will come out to visit you in your place of work or residence (in New Zealand, that is).
Once you find the property you would like to purchase, a sale can typically be transacted and you can be living in the property within four to six weeks.
If you buy a property that’s rented and the tenants have a fixed-term tenancy agreement, the tenants are entitled to stay until the date in the tenancy agreement and under the same conditions.
If you’re buying your first home, you can apply for a grant of up to $20,000 towards your deposit, if the home is a surplus vacant state house in some areas of NZ.
This means the agreement to purchase the house won’t be finalised until you’ve satisfied all your conditions.
You can apply for the deposit subsidy if you’ve belonged to, and have regularly paid into, your KiwiSaver scheme for at least 3 years.
If you don’t agree with anything tell the real estate agent — and have your lawyer check the agreement before you sign.
If you can afford to make regular payments on a home loan but have trouble saving for a deposit, a Welcome Home Loan could help you get into your first home.
If you’re an existing tenant in a state house you can buy your home if it’s available for purchase.
The commencement of the spring market has seen the number of Auckland auction sales drop by 25% when comparing September 2014 with the same month last year, according to the latest press release from the Real Estate Institute.
Over the last year, the national asking price for properties increased by only 3.9%, compared to an 8.7% increase in the preceding year.
New Zealand cities and towns are spread out, so even if public transport can get you to and from work or school, the bottom line is you will likely need a car here.
You’re never far from a beach in New Zealand and there are seaside settlements near most cities and towns where you can find small house or cottages, called baches (or cribs in the South Island).
The Government’s Energy Efficiency and Conservation Authority (EECA) has advice on working out whether the home you’re considering is energy efficient, what sort of heating you will need, and how much heating you’re likely to use in different parts of the country.
Because the climate in New Zealand varies so widely – for example, winter is generally much warmer in northern areas than in the south – the issue of heating will be more important in some regions than others.
To find out about school transport services, check our School system page.
Whether you want the ocean, the mountains or pastureland, property in Canterbury can cater to most tastes and preferences with the highest part of the region being the highest in all New Zealand! Great care has been taken to preserve Canterbury’s colonial heritage in the regions two main cities, Christchurch and Timaru.
Your mortgage repayments aren’t the only thing you’ll need to budget for in your new life as a homeowner.  Make sure you include insurance, rates and other ongoing costs in your calculations.
Buying your first home takes careful planning and, for most people, serious budgeting! Our tips for first home buyers will help you plan for the total cost of buying a home, including your mortgage, insurance, legal fees and other costs.
In New Zealand, Auction campaigns are most frequently used to market high-end or high value real estate, and should not be confused with Mortgagee Sale Auctions, where the holder of the mortgage on a property may require a quick sale and the buyers may be looking for a “bargain” purchase.
If you need to borrow funds in New Zealand to purchase a property, you should be aware that different conditions will apply, depending on the status of your residency.
Every New Zealand property has what is known as a Government Valuation (GV) or Rating Valuation (RV), which is the value that annual rates (property taxes) is based on.
If you are not currently a New Zealand resident, or an Australian resident, but are here on a Work Permit, mortgage lenders may require you to have a deposit of anywhere from 20% – 50% of the value of the property you wish to buy.
In New Zealand, a verbal offer to purchase a property is not considered to be legally binding.
The main house comes with air conditioning, a balcony, and a landscaped garden with one hell of a swimming pool.
By far my favourite piece of property on the list, how could I possibly get bored in a “Four Seasons” themed apartment? Details are sparse, but I don’t care.
There’s a huge pool with an underwater sound system (underwater aerobics, anyone?), massage jets, waterfall and waterslide.
Ten years ago you could buy Caribbean mansions in this price range — I sure wish I’d have bought the house I looked at in the British Virgin Islands back then… To say nothing of having sold my house in La Paz.
It’s also part of a complex, so you get all the sweet extras like a tennis court and pool.
This property is actually TWO buildings: a main two-storey house, and a smaller, one-storey building suitable for rentals or office space.
This house is brand new and comes with a large garden, a pool, and mad views out over the valley.
You can get a great house here in Houston for $250,000… I sold a 5000sqft home with a 8000sqft lot that was built in 2009 for 245k just recently.
This home is in a gated community which includes swimming pool, club/party house, hedge gardens, and manicured lawns.
The house in Truckee, California, USA looks like the house from Call of Duty Modern Warfare 2 in the outdoor level with the cabin up top.
Has a pool and sauna, and a separate caretaker house complete with resident caretaker – leaving you free to concentrate on the sunsets.
It’s the kind of home I’ll swap my dingy townhouse rental for in a few years, when I want to start having babies and settling down.
The building has a laundry room, pool, gym/spa, 24 hour security and car parking, and a great view of the ocean.
uh, the house in Truckee (Lake Tahoe) California is $250,000 for a WEEK of ownership every year.
How is that a fair comparison with the other homes listed? You own the house for ONE WEEK a year…not a deal or a steal in any sense of the word.
The “shared ownership” house in Truckee, CA is $250k for one week a year.
A: Permanent residence is the right to reside in New Zealand permanently, while that person has in the passport of their home country, a valid Residence Permit, or if out of New Zealand, a valid Returning Resident’s Visa.
A: To become a citizen of New Zealand you must have been a permanent resident for at least 5 years, intend to continue living in New Zealand, be able to understand and speak English and be of good character.
A: If you are coming to New Zealand to take up permanent residence, and have the legal authority to do so from the New Zealand Immigration Service, you do not need to pay tax or any duty on your belongings so long as they are for your personal use.
A New Zealand tax resident is required to assess what tax he will have to pay within a tax year and he must pay this as to one third on 7 July, one third on 7 November and one third on 7 March.
You can import a motor vehicle (car, motorcycle or motor scooter) or boat duty free, as long as it has been personally owned and used by you for at least one year before the date when it was surrendered for shipping to New Zealand, or the date when you leave for New Zealand, whichever is the earlier.
Other household goods, such as furniture, stereos and houseware must have been owned and used by you before you come to New Zealand.
You should check the website of Immigration New Zealand for the correct definition of the residence visa or permit that you hold.
Any qualification will be awarded a certain level and Immigration New Zealand accepts the result of an NZQA diploma assessment.
Cats and dogs must be identified with a microchip or permanent tattoo and the identification details must be shown on the accompanying certification when they are imported to New Zealand.
(Note: Some other countries do not allow this, and obtaining New Zealand citizenship may require you to forfeit your native country citizenship).
A: The NZ Qualifications Authority, NZQA, assesses overseas diploma’s and compares a diploma with a qualification for the same profession in New Zealand.
Persons with a valid Australian Resident’s Return Visa may enter New Zealand, and will be given an equivalent Returning Resident’s Visa from New Zealand.
Applicants must have lived in New Zealand for at least 5 years before they can apply.
A: You can, as a foreign national, open a bank account in New Zealand, and transfer funds in and out of the country, unimpeded by Government authorities.
If you wish to bring any guns into New Zealand you will need a special permit to import them.
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The criteria are very similar to those for the KiwiSaver deposit subsidy: the caps on annual household income before tax and house price by region are the same, and you must have a deposit of at least 10 per cent of the property’s value.
If you have been making regular contributions for at least three years, you may also be eligible for the KiwiSaver first-home deposit subsidy, of $1000 for each year of contribution (up to a maximum of $5000 and five years).
According to the Reserve Bank, lending to those with a deposit of less than 20 per cent fell to 12 per cent of total new lending in October, compared with 26 per cent in September – and there’s been a 27 per cent decrease reported in the number of first home buyers attending open homes since the rules took effect.
If you’re struggling to save for a large deposit, but can afford to make regular repayments on a home loan, you may be eligible for the Welcome Home Loan, a mortgage insurance scheme that allows aspiring first-home owners to buy with a 10 per cent deposit, despite the Reserve Bank’s changes to loan-to-value ratios.
There are government schemes designed to give first-time buyers a leg up, but you’re best placed to make the most of these if you are a) in a couple, b) you have a joint annual income of close to, but no more than $120,000 before tax, and c) you’re both members of KiwiSaver and have been making at least the minimum contribution for at least three years.
If you do decide to put it towards your first home, there are a couple of criteria, but none regarding income before tax: you need to have been making at least the minimum contribution to KiwiSaver for at least three years, and you need to be intending to live in the property.
With the national median house price at $407,525 in October, saving $80,000-odd for a 20 per cent deposit is no mean feat – but it’s not impossible, even with the higher LVR ratios, as Eaqub points out.
If two or more of you are buying a house together, you don’t all have to be signed up to KiwiSaver, but if you are, you may all qualify for the subsidy – but your combined income must have been $120,000 or less in the past year.
The programme, intended to help people on “modest” incomes buy their first home, gives them a 10 per cent deposit (capped at $20,000) to buy surplus, vacant state houses in provincial areas of the country.
But the fact is, though home owners 30 years ago had to contend with mortgage rates of more than 20 per cent, house prices were about three times the average annual household income.
Home owners 30 years ago had to contend with mortgage rates of more than 20 per cent, house prices were about three times the average annual household income.
The new rule limits the amount of lending banks can approve for customers who have a loan-to-value ratio of over 80 per cent, meaning most aspiring home owners now have to have a minimum deposit of 20 per cent of the property’s value in order to secure a mortgage.
Auckland ($485,000), Wellington City and Queenstown Lakes ($425,000), and Christchurch City and Selwyn District ($400,000) are the top three; residential properties in Thames/Coromandel, Hamilton City, Western Bay of Plenty, Tauranga City, Kapiti Coast, Porirua City, Hutt City, Upper Hutt, Tasman/Nelson and Waimakariri are capped at $350,000, while the rest of New Zealand is capped at $300,000.
This can include both your savings withdrawn from KiwiSaver, and the deposit subsidy you may be eligible for, and any other funds, like savings, fixed-term deposits or funds already paid to a real estate agent.
In the U.S., a property auction often reeks of desperation (and/or foreclosure) but iffin we were the betting type—and we’re not—we’d wager both our long-bodied bitches Linda and Beverly that the scheduled auction for Mister (and Missus) Urban’s digs in Auckland are absolutely not an indication of an over-squeezed pocketbook.
Your Mama doesn’t know how to look up public property records in New Zealand so we really can’t say when Mister Urban and his Missus bought the gated residence located in the upscale Auckland enclave of Herne Bay or how much dinero they forked over to buy it.
His Internet Movie Data Base resume shows beaver-busy Mister Urban has hefty handful of film projects in the hopper or in production that include a sci-fi thriller with Vin Diesel (Untitled Chronicles of Riddick Sequel) and still-to-be-titled sequel for Star Trek with Chris Pine and Zachary Quinto.
One fine example: once when viewing a Kohimarama [next to Herne Bay] waterfront property, the long legged bweetch of a part time housewife/part time agent said to me when I asked what the price was, that she couldn’t say, as the seller was seeking buyer interest.
New Zealand, like Australia, cottoned onto the loony idea many moons ago of selling all [decent] properties at auction – because as the “agents” would like you to believe, you get a better sale price as a result.
We are not familiar with the specifics way of the New Zealand real estate business so we haven’t a clue what “capital value” is and we also can’t say if this auction business is customary for the region.
A bowling alley-length entrance hall with wood beamed ceiling and wood floors stretches clear through to the back of the house where it opens through French doors to a sizable wood deck that extends the first floor living areas into the tropically-landscaped and high-hedged back yard.
Natch, we fired up our trusty laptop computer and discovered Mister Urban, a well-built brunette with somewhat delicate facial features whose big break came on the New Zealand soap story Shortland Street, has successfully crossed over from the Australian/New Zealand movie scene to the Hollywood big time.
The furnishings are eclectic and include linen slip-covered and leather sofas, an iconic Isamu Noguchi coffee table, a rug that looks like it was inspired by something our Grandma T-T tatted, and a variety of artworks on the walls including one over the fireplace ringed with a tangerine-colored frame that has Your Mama drooling with envy…over the frame, not the painting.
Obviously we’re not apprised of Mister Urban’s specific real estate plans but eh told the local press he has no plans to relocated to Tinseltown and, in fact, has definite plans to stay in Herne Bay ‘hood.
That’s because current listing information does not indicate a specific asking price but does show that unless the property sells before, it will be sold by auction on the 4th of April.
New Zealand Home Loans (and Welcome Home Loans) lending criteria, terms and conditions and fees apply.
A Welcome Home Loan helps you purchase your first home with just a 10% deposit.
  Applying for a Home Loan When applying for a home loan it can be quite daunting, particularly if you have been declined by a lending institution before.
You want to have done all the things bulleted above (or at least the ones you deem worthwhile), and as you are making your offer, you can use points your building inspection may have uncovered to lower the price, and the seller may counter with offers to fix whatever it is that has been uncovered in the inspection to ask more again.
You may make an offer conditional on a good LIM report or a good building inspection or conditional upon your receiving funds from a loan or selling a property you own elsewhere.
Buying property will probably be the biggest financial investment you’ll ever make and because of this you need to surround yourself with people who can help you realise your goals.
In earthquake prone areas of New Zealand like Christchurch and now Wellington there are many additional considerations to take into account when buying a property.
A house is an expensive purchase – everyone knows that, but there are additional costs associated with purchasing a property that buyers often forget about.
Hi some what free thinking people, just wanted to say New Zealand is a very corrupt place, it’s not so much that every one is a wear of the corrupt way they act, it’s more so a systemic cultural corruption, people in new zealand don’t think for them themselves they in fact don’t think at all, they act and associate in groups that are lead my people with money, that maintain the way it is, they often hold themselves or there group, be it the company they work for the industry they work in the church they attend, above others weather it be the Maoris the dole bluggers the pot heads the poor people, every one thinks there better, if you don’t Allie to these groups you will set your self up for a very rough ride, Questions are the the Antichrist to new zealand society, as soon as you ask one, your painting a target on your back,analytical assessments of any thing no matter what, is highly taboo, (the truth is propaganda) slung from some secret CIA type group composed of every minority group in the world, there all out to sabotage paradise, having a opinion or a concern is putting a spanner in the works, the over all doctrine of nz is to follow blindly as blindly as the German people followed Hitler so the NZ people will follow any group with the audacity to claim there superiority, the staidest part of all this is there are people such as myself born in new zealand that are smart and capable of solving vast problems, that are cast onto the mass rubbish heap of unwanted life, we struggle to make a life because we refuse to conform into a broken system that is sending the world to a certain apocalypses be it war starvation pollution, I have no education nothing that’s right NO education you might ask how is that possible, well if you go to a slightly how do I put it up market school, they can just say we don’t like you please fuck off, then you can go to a training organisation and and they can say sorry we lost your paper work please fuck off, then you can go to another training organisation and they can say no you can’t in role in our course as you have bean arrested by the police for smoking pot, total illegal for them to say that as it violates my human rights but as I don’t have money for a lawyer well, they may do as they please, so as you can see new zealand is a fascist sectarian society embodying the worst prejudice from many miss guided doctrines to make the ultimate narcissistic nation of the world where just about starting to make america look like a good place to live no offence to the millions of Americans trying to make a better world.so back to me well I am 33 no job no chance of a job and a income that means I must break the to survive in the hope that the world or at least the country I live in will change for the good of the people, but hay I’m not holding my breath, would to go to a proper country, but no money means, NO, it might be worth adding I am an inventor with a number of very good inventions that might in a more progressive country go on to benefit millions of people but certainly not in new zealand, selfishness and self interest are the only truly admired traits in New Zealand.

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