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Buying Your Home in New Zealand

By international standards housing in New Zealand is affordable
According to the BBC the average house price in the UK was £225,000 and the average price of a detached property was £382,000 on 11th of May 2009. While the average price for a house in New Zealand was just $378,000 (£151,000).
As a comparison you can find a beautiful five bedroom home with three bathrooms and a swimming pool in Auckland for £240,000 and still only be 20 minutes from the city centre.


Build your dream home
New Zealand, unlike the UK, is relatively undeveloped. This means you can find building plots (locally known as sections) almost anywhere. If like me you dream of designing and building your perfect family home there is no better opportunity.
Getting a property designed and passed the planning permission stage or resource consent stage is a breeze compared to the UK and building costs are low. You can build a property from as little as £400 per square metre while a good quality finish will cost £1,000 per square metre.
Throughout New Zealand houses tend to be individual designed and built, and the housing estates or large developments which abound in England are all but non-existent. Almost every street has a range of individual, custom designed houses created to suit their owners.


What to look for when buying a house in New Zealand
When you first start looking for a property to buy keep in mind those features that are most important to you, such as:

  • Storage
  • Water pressure
  • Insulation
  • Chattels
  • Traffic
  • Neighbours
  • Dampness
  • Heating
  • Electrical wiring
  • Why the owners are selling
  • What type of title the property has
  • Are there any protection orders or covenants in place
  • Current mortgage rates

If you have found a property you are interested in the first thing you should do is apply for a LIM (Land Information Memorandum) report from the local council. This will give you the information the council has on record about the property, was it built legally, has it had any floods, what local planning rules apply etc.
After you have the LIM report you should consider getting the property valued by an independent registered valuer, they will give you a good idea of market value and most lenders insist on this.

You may like to get a building consultants report, this is always a good idea, though it is rarely required by your lender.

How to buy your house

Once you have decided on a home you should contact a lawyer. They will deal with the realtor or the vendor’s solicitor and help prepare a sale and purchase agreement which protects your interests. You should also ask them to review the LIM report to ensure there are no hidden issues. Your lawyer should manage the exchange of funds and keys. The realtors may try and get a large deposit from you, however a deposit of $50,000 is normal.

Once you have a sale and purchase agreement in place (these are often made subject to finance) it is time to talk to the Bank.New Zealand has a number of very reputable banks, however I have found National Bank to be the best when dealing with migrants. Most mortgages are agreed within 24 hours and the funds transferred to complete the purchase of a property within 7 days.

Whether you decide to buy or build New Zealand homes represent great value for both you and your family.