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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Just wondering how new migrants have found NZ house prices compared to overseas. Much has been published about Auckland property market overheating but I wonder what those coming in from overseas think in comparison to where they have come from. And of course the rest of NZ still sounds quite affordable apart from maybe Queenstown.
 

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Hi,

When we arrived in March 2012 (from UK) we we're really surprised at how affordable property was outside of the city limits. We thought we could get way more (size wise and garden size wise) for our money.
18 months further on and that buffer has reduced slightly as house prices have risen and the cost of mortgages is more expensive due to the higher interest rates than the UK by maybe 3%.

BUT, after living on a pretty new subdivision North of Wellington for those 18 months we have been subjected to watching a number of builders erecting a number of homes in all shapes sizes and finishes. We've been shocked at how poorly built houses are here compared to how a new house is built in the UK.
The lack of decent foundations, the lack of insulation in the walls and under floors, the quality of the waterproofing membrane in the walls, poor quality windows. New double glazing is a joke. All leads to inefficient heating and houses feeling cold and damp.
When I finally come to the point when I buy here, I'm sure I'll be biting my tongue handing over the cheque knowing what I'm getting for my money.
We're seriously thinking of buying a plot of land and building our own so we know the build quality will surpass the current regulations. Will surely cost more but we'll have peace of mind that we're not throwing our money out of the window (literally) every time we put the heating on.

Regards,
 
G

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
Apart from some leaky homes the houses now being built on the North Shore of Auckland are pretty good quality. We live in a 70s home which was cold until we invested in an HRV fan which has taken all the damp out of the air and when we put the heater on the house warms faster now. My brother in law built homes in SA and has now built 2 in Auckland and he has been quite complimentary about the process and quality standards. And I have a QS friend who sells off plan here as he did in SA and they do excellent quality homes and build for lots of migrants and he rates the standards - he is exceptionally ethical too. There are some migrant groups building quickly and questionably but those houses are easy to spot. A lot of young couples are buying an hour north at Warkworth and getting excellent value for money.
 

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Apart from some leaky homes the houses now being built on the North Shore of Auckland are pretty good quality. We live in a 70s home which was cold until we invested in an HRV fan which has taken all the damp out of the air and when we put the heater on the house warms faster now. My brother in law built homes in SA and has now built 2 in Auckland and he has been quite complimentary about the process and quality standards. And I have a QS friend who sells off plan here as he did in SA and they do excellent quality homes and build for lots of migrants and he rates the standards - he is exceptionally ethical too. There are some migrant groups building quickly and questionably but those houses are easy to spot. A lot of young couples are buying an hour north at Warkworth and getting excellent value for money.
With gbimmigration on this one. I can't fault the quality of our current house, which is now about 5 years old. Excellent insulation, and double-glazed throughout.
I still couldn't understand why it had no heating apart from a single wood burning stove when we moved in - but a single heat pump & ducting solved that!

It's currently 4:00 am in the middle of a spring rainstorm with no heating left on, and it's a balmy 18.5 degrees C inside.
 

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In Christchurch, there has not been the sort of construction boom that has been going on for decades in Auckland, so much of the market (most of it, in fact), I found to be sub-par compared to what I was used to in the US--primarily because it is all so old, and maintenance is apparently not that big of a deal here. The newer homes currently being built I'm sure will be better, more modern, weather-tight, and warm... but, most of what I saw when we were looking was pretty shabby for what the asking prices were. I know people will find my attitude arrogant, but I just couldn't see spending $350-$400+k on a house that wasn't already in pristine, move-in shape... yeah, nah. Our current rent is probably about $300+ more than a mortgage would be, but it was literally move in ready, and will soon have the kitchen gutted and completely redone.. and it sits on a full 1/4 acre lot with full garden, mature landscaping, fruit trees etc. We're happy to sit the market out here in Chch, and when the bubble pops take advantage of prices then and only then... we could afford to buy, but we'd get a less "complete" home right now if we bought. I'd rather pay more in rent for a place that's 100% livable, than the same (or less) on a mortgage for a house that would still need work to be a complete pleasure to live in.
 
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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
I don't think it's arrogant when your expectations are not met - be it housing, customer service etc. Possibly we have just each been exposed to completely different areas. I can say that here on the North Shore of Auckland there are some areas with run down houses that unfortunately are asking more than one expects but it is all about supply and demand. Having said that I know of several run downers that have had just a bit spent on them and sold at a tidy profit so a nice market for someone with handyman skills which sadly I'm not.
 

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I don't actually think it's arrogant either, but it could seem unappreciative to a kiwi reading, especially if coming from an American! lol

I do think Auckland probably has the best house market in terms of condition. I really love the city, but I don't think my kiwi husband would handle the "city" life well. Me, I came from it, I can live in lil 'ol Chch, or big 'ol Dorkland (which, btw, I don't think is dorky at all). I've only been there a few times and really did love it, I guess because it reminded of what a "real" metropolis is... Chch is having a bad time right now with housing, there is a severe shortage because of the earthquakes, and, unfortunately, lots of people are looking to cash in on the misfortune of others by jacking up prices far beyond their worth... of course, the real estate industry is pushing people to buy "while you can!" blah, blah, blah.... meanwhile, there are about 5 or 6 huge subdivisions being developed, and more being planned... I was in this same cycle in California, I made money from it, but wouldn't want to get caught up in the hysteria again.. ugh. The biggest issues with the houses here is simply their age and most have only marginal updates that have been done to them. I'm certain it's because it is so expensive here, but on the other hand, people are asking prices as though the houses are mini mansions in perfect condition. Totally human nature, and just the sort of hyperbole I shy away from. Like you, I've also given thought to investing in a "fixer upper" but just can't see at my age diving into something like that. My first home in California was a fixer upper, and they can lead to ENDLESS fixing-uping! Wish I had it in me, but, frankly, I'm too lazy at this stage in my life. :D
 

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I don't actually think it's arrogant either, but it could seem unappreciative to a kiwi reading, especially if coming from an American! lol
This Kiwi doesn't think it's arrogant ;)

When I came back to NZ I was horrified to find that New Zealanders are still so blasé about housing. Houses here tend to be cold, poorly insulated (if there is any insulation at all) and people just seem to put up with it.
The cost of building materials is high here so building a home to the standard you want is expensive. Retrofitting a house so that its comfortable to live in year round is really expensive.
New Zealanders need to wake up - putting up with little or no insulation, no double-glazing, and then paying out for heating and dehumidifying is just ridiculous. The housing is also a key reason why many people who come here from overseas find the winters cold. Most parts of NZ have high humidity. If the house is not designed to stay warm and dry then there are only two choices - either retrofit to make it warm, dry and insulated or pay out a small fortune in electricity to get appliances to do this for you.

As you can guess, I am not a fan of NZ housing ;)
 

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This Kiwi doesn't think it's arrogant ;)

When I came back to NZ I was horrified to find that New Zealanders are still so blasé about housing. Houses here tend to be cold, poorly insulated (if there is any insulation at all) and people just seem to put up with it.
The cost of building materials is high here so building a home to the standard you want is expensive. Retrofitting a house so that its comfortable to live in year round is really expensive.
New Zealanders need to wake up - putting up with little or no insulation, no double-glazing, and then paying out for heating and dehumidifying is just ridiculous. The housing is also a key reason why many people who come here from overseas find the winters cold. Most parts of NZ have high humidity. If the house is not designed to stay warm and dry then there are only two choices - either retrofit to make it warm, dry and insulated or pay out a small fortune in electricity to get appliances to do this for you.

As you can guess, I am not a fan of NZ housing ;)
I'd say it used to be like this - but most NZers have already woken up. I've seen a huge change in the 7 years we've been here, and new house builds are much better built and insulated now.
Also heat pumps make a huge difference - we have had one since day one, and where we used to get NZers asking us why we needed one (D'oh!) now they come and ask our advice about getting one fitted!
It's worth people knowing about older house build though - and watch out for those leaky buildings, too!
 

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We bought a house in Napier in February. It was built in the 1920s and was completely remodeled recently. It is on a large lot, ratty yard that needs to be redone, but is situated on a hill overlooking the ocean with a large deck for viewing. It was just over $500,000NZ. That is much more than we would pay in our California beach town. It was built with quality construction and insulated well by KIWI standards, but it is cold in the winter. My friend payed $270,000NZ for an old 20's home that needs work, but is well built with no view, closer to the cbd.
 

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I'd say it used to be like this - but most NZers have already woken up. I've seen a huge change in the 7 years we've been here, and new house builds are much better built and insulated now.
Also heat pumps make a huge difference - we have had one since day one, and where we used to get NZers asking us why we needed one (D'oh!) now they come and ask our advice about getting one fitted!
I hear what you are saying but don't agree that NZ'ers have woken up. New houses are built with insulation because that is now law. BUT the standard of insulation is, IMO, ridiculous.
For example, in zone 3, which covers the whole of the South Island (including areas that get heavy snowfall by NZ standards) and the snow-prone area of the North Island's Central Plateau are as follows:

Roof - R 3.3
Walls - R 2.0
Floor - R 1.3

Compare these R values to North America, for example, where putting roof insulation in with a value lower than 30-40 is almost unheard of.

So, yes, I agree that new homes have insulation but the legal requirements are so far below what is needed to make a house comfortable. For anyone coming from a place that is kept warm, dry and comfortable throughout winter you need to be prepared to look carefully at what insulation is in a house and whether you will need to improve on it.
 

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This Kiwi doesn't think it's arrogant ;)

When I came back to NZ I was horrified to find that New Zealanders are still so blasé about housing. Houses here tend to be cold, poorly insulated (if there is any insulation at all) and people just seem to put up with it.
The cost of building materials is high here so building a home to the standard you want is expensive. Retrofitting a house so that its comfortable to live in year round is really expensive.
New Zealanders need to wake up - putting up with little or no insulation, no double-glazing, and then paying out for heating and dehumidifying is just ridiculous. The housing is also a key reason why many people who come here from overseas find the winters cold. Most parts of NZ have high humidity. If the house is not designed to stay warm and dry then there are only two choices - either retrofit to make it warm, dry and insulated or pay out a small fortune in electricity to get appliances to do this for you.

As you can guess, I am not a fan of NZ housing ;)
Your open mindedness about the housing shortcomings is appreciated. I think you understand that when foreigners point it out, it's not meant as a criticism to the craftsmanship, but rather, surprise that those conditions still exist here. I still don't understand the rationalization behind it... a few locals I've spoken to about it just sort of shrug and say, that's how it's done here as they pile on 6 layers of clothes... I just don't see how anyone can move or do chores bundled up like that! I'd never seen a person wear gloves or a hat indoors until I moved here...wow! lol
 

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... a few locals I've spoken to about it just sort of shrug and say, that's how it's done here as they pile on 6 layers of clothes... I just don't see how anyone can move or do chores bundled up like that! I'd never seen a person wear gloves or a hat indoors until I moved here...wow! lol
My poor Canadian husband swears he has never felt as cold anywhere before coming to NZ. While I knew I feel the cold here I didn't *quite* believe him. after all, I'm just a wimp and bundle up as soon as the temperature drops to 15C. Then I spent a winter in Quebec. It was so comfortable indoors that the first thing we did when we got back was go out and buy more heaters!
 

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'National property prices were up $5,000 in August, taking the national median price to $390,000 - with the 1.3 per cent monthly rise taking prices to near the the record median set in March.

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The Auckland index was up 6.5 per cent from the month before.'


Sales growth slows, property prices up $5000 - Business - NZ Herald News

Auckland is definitely the most expensive place to live, both for houses and rental.
 
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