Does ‘green building’ pay back?

“Good solar design and insulation reduces the amount of energy required for space heating so you can go for smaller and more cost-effective heat pump options. This in turn informs the adequate size of solar system for your home, which will then pay back within a reasonable period.”

Beyond that there are undeniable health and peace of mind benefits in using “eco-friendly” non-toxic materials and less impactful methods of building. Selecting those means putting other elements in your cost/benefit analysis than simple dollar signs.

Hands up for rates rebate

A $5000 rates remission was available to first home buyers in Wellington who were buying a newly constructed home, an apartment off the plans or building their own home. This year 49 applications were approved.

Call for regulation of managers

Nowell says: “Since 2009, property managers have not been regulated which is why it is of great concern when we hear of incidents highlighted in the media about property managers not living up to consumers’ expectations.

Why Smaller Homes Are The Future

All of us dream of owning a house, a place to return to and unwind from the day’s work. Now, when you think of a house, generally a spacious, mammoth structure comes to mind. Equipped with four bedrooms, three bathrooms, a guest room, entertainment room and a garage by the side. What we fail to see is the huge mortgage, the high energy bills, laborious cleaning and last of all, a major environmental impact that comes with it. Recently a lot of families have realized these shortcomings and are opting for smaller houses. While there is nothing wrong with wanting to own a big house, there are certain benefits that smaller houses bring that the big structures simply cannot compete with. To make our case, we are listing top 10 reasons, why you should opt for small houses.

  1. Less Expensive: It goes without saying, the smaller the place, the bigger the savings. Small houses come with lower expenses in all aspects of home maintenance. Lower power bills, lower insurance, lower taxes, lower heating and cooling bills and lastly, if you are renting a house, low residential security deposit. This blog post further elaborates the savings that come with a smaller house.
  2. Home Security System: You put your sweat and blood and sometimes tears into your new home, it is but natural you would want to secure it with the best residential security there is. Now the benefit of smaller houses is that you don’t have to splurge on security, as the area to cover your bases is small hence the total cost of installing a home security system reduces automatically. There are key things you should remember while going for a home security system, this article sheds further light on this topic.
  3. Lower Carbon Footprint: We all know our planet is in dire need of conservation of its precious resources. Also, pollution is on a rise and so is global warming. In such circumstances, a smaller house reduces your carbon footprint significantly. Small houses consume less energy. When it comes to architectural expenses, lesser raw resources go into building it; hence it great for your ecological footprint!
  4. Less Cleaning and Maintenance Required: Smaller houses require less cleaning effort and in turn less maintenance. Since space is smaller you have smaller area-base to cover. Seasonal maintenance practices such as roof cleaning, gutter cleaning, checking insulation, weatherproofing all consume lesser time. If you employ gutter cleaning services or professional interior and exterior cleaners, the cost is lowered as they charge you based on time and the area they have to cover. Since the space is smaller, so is the bill. This article explores ways to clean and maintain smaller spaces.
  5. Up and coming neighbourhoods: Most densely populated cities have ‘hot’ neighbourhoods with smaller row houses, so as to accommodate its growing number of residents. Smaller houses eliminate certain costs such as – laundry room, pantry and gym room as these amenities are easily available in the form of public laundry rooms, corner markets and gyms just a few blocks away if centrally located. This can be a major plus in saving money as well as space.
  6. Remodelling, Repairs and Decorating Costs: As smaller houses have limited space, so does the opportunity for decorating, remodelling and repair costs. The more rooms you have the larger the expensive in doing them up. Smaller houses have lesser room hence require lesser furniture, paint, home décor items, etc. This way you end up saving a lot more money than you would be doing up a big house. This article explores best ways to decorate and make the most of smaller spaces.There is one more by Country Living on how to maximise space in smaller living quarters.
  7. Minimalism: Smaller house gives you the chance to declutter. Small spaces force you to take in only the essentials hence giving up the excess. In a consumerism driven society, this can be a boon when it comes to mental health. Also, leading a minimalistic lifestyle by default comes with lower living costs as your utility and consumption of energy and resources goes down.
  8. Encourages Family Bonding: Since the family is forced to use smaller space, the social interaction between members increases. Close quarters present an opportunity for more quality time.
  9. Lesser Debt and Risk: If you go online and search for ‘New House Calculator’, a dozen of links will show up. These help you calculate the percent of mortgage one should pay on a house. It is calculated based on your annual income, savings, current debt and current mortgage. Most sites will advise you to spend 28% of your net income on monthly mortgage instalments. But purchasing a smaller house can bring that percent down to as low as 15%, this significantly frees up your assets, which can be used for the education of your kids, travel and other important everyday expenses. Bankrate and Zillow help you calculate how much house can you afford.
  10. Lower Property Tax: Smaller houses come with lower property tax. For instance, in New Zealand, one would end up paying around $508 as property tax on a large house per quarter, whereas a smaller house will bring down the amount to around $380 per quarter. This gives you leeway to invest that sum in repairs or other household expenses.

As you can see, small houses come with a host of benefits, apart from personal gain, they have a significant impact on the environment. They give you more leeway to invest in other avenues such as travel, education etc. It also allows for more freedom and better familial bonding. A house is more than just a brick and mortar structure, it is where you spend most of your time, resources and energy. A smaller house lowers usage of all three. Going for a smaller house depends on a lot of factors– income, the willingness of the family members, creativity and perseverance. Once all these factors are aligned opting for a smaller house is definitely worth it. It can be a liberating experience not only financially, but also mentally.

Are Auction Sales A Thing Of The Past?

Auction sales can cover all kinds of products that you wish to sell. When you think of auctions we often think about eBay. eBay is a great way of searching for products that you want and then having the ability to be able to put in a bid for a particular item. If you are the highest bidder then you will win the item that you have bidded for.

Below we will discuss some of the different types of auctions that are available and how they have changed over the years.

Property Auctions

When you have decided to move house or buy a property, the majority of us start to search for property for sale. However, your mind quickly moves to the legal side of things and you soon start to look for a suitable property lawyer or a realtor lawyer and then you will finally turn your thoughts to property inspections. Once all of this boring stuff has been thought about, your attention then turns back to your dream home. You will probably ask yourself the following questions:

  • What type of house do I want?
  • How many bedrooms do I need?
  • How many bathrooms do I need?
  • Does the property have a front and back garden?
  • Does the property have off road parking?
  • Should I buy an auction property?

As you can see from the questions above, they seem fairly straightforward. That is apart from the last one. When buying a property, the standard way you will put in an offer, do all of the appropriate searches, search for drug and meth testing companies to perform a search on the property that you are interested in, put in an offer and then wait to see if it gets accepted. Alternatively, you could opt for the auction route. The advantage to the auction route is that you could save money on your dream property. In many cases you buy the property as seen so you could be buying a relative unknown. This type of sale is fantastic if it goes the right way for you but it can be troublesome if it does not. Property bought at auction can be very stressful for those who are putting in the bid. The number of properties on the market for auction is slowly decreasing and therefore people are opting for the standard way of purchasing a property. Consequently, auction houses are slowly on the decline.

If you do decide to purchase a property using the auction system there are other pros and cons to be mindful of:

Pros:

  • You may pay less than if you would have bought the property the standard way.
  • You will get the property much quicker as auctions offer a speedy turnaround

Cons

  • You can end up going over budget as your heart ay rule your head.
  • You have less time to arrange a survey and your solicitor has less time to look over the legal pack.

Car Auctions

Another huge area for auctions is the car industry. There are many places that now offer car auctions. Vehicles bought this way tend to be cheaper and more readily available. The reason for this is that many companies that buy and sell cars are selling them via the auction route. This means the quality of the car has increased and there are varying makes and models available. Car auctions have seen an increase due to these reasons and there is a need, across the world, for cheap motoring. This is one type of auction that is seeing an increase as opposed to being a thing of the past.

Small Item Auctions

Small item auctions are auctions that we all recognise. Whether it is an expensive piece of artwork, memorabilia from somebody famous or just sales of general household items, these types of auctions are very popular. The attraction to these types of auctions is very simple. The general public visit these auction houses in the quest for a bargain. Additionally, there are many collectors and experts that travel around to different auctions houses to find specific items. These auction houses have varying lots that are placed in front of the potential buyers. Buyers are then able to view the items before the auction takes place. This allows them the opportunity to make a note of the lot number. The lot is then called and offered for sale and at this point potential buyers can place their bids. This type of auction is bucking the trend due to its popularity and therefore demand for small item auction is high.

eBay

This now leads us nicely back to the giant that is eBay. As we all know eBay is a huge auction site and has enjoyed its dominance in auction sales for many years. However, it appears that there is now a decline in its popularity. The decline could be due to many different factors. One of the main factors could be that many sellers are now opting for the fixed price option as opposed to the auction option. Also, with stiff completion form sites such as Amazon and other retail companies, it has become more difficult for eBay to continue to have the precious success that it had.

All in all, it appears that the type of auction in question plays a part in whether or not auctions sales are a thing of the past. If you are referring to eBay then there has been a decline. Alternatively, car auctions and small item auctions seem to be booming and coping pretty well within the economic climate that we are living in today.

The Increasing Gap Between Rent And Wages

The property market has been a popular topic amongst budding entrepreneurs for at least the last quarter of a century. Gone are the days when a house was seen solely as a place of singular dwelling in order to raise a family. Whilst this is still the case, we can’t totally ignore the impact of the buy to let phenomenon. Low interest rates on bank savings and the uncertainty of pensions, have seen so many average investors seek to secure their financial futures. This in turn has caused a chain reaction which has led to the inevitable higher cost of rent for tenants.

As a landlord, your main concern will be investment property management as a way of ensuring your property works for you. You will no doubt want to ensure that your rents are collected on time and that the property is properly looked after. Having said this, you will also want to minimise your workload and not have to be checking on your investment every five minutes. You ideally would want to sit back and watch the money roll in.

With this in mind, the prospective investor will be wise to engage in the services of a rental manager. The rental manager is essentially the conduit between landlord and tenant. This practice serves to facilitate a smooth relationship between the two parties. In fact, in many private rentals these days, it is far more likely that rental agents will be the only point of contact from the point of view of the tenant. The tenant will typically liaise with the rental manager as the representative of the investment property management company which will have been entrusted by the landlord.

What’s actually happening in the market?

So, this brings us to the hot topic of the rents themselves. Rents have been increasing rapidly over the last few years. This is mostly down to the upward trend of inflation, but the problem has been compounded by the fact that wages have not been rising in line with that of inflation. This is a problem to families that have accommodation in the larger cities. Increasing rates for buy to let mortgages and higher insurance premiums have ultimately led to the landlords having no choice but to recoup some of these extra costs. This situation has obviously manifested itself in higher rents.

Another problem could be down to a landlord seeking rental appraisals. They may do this for one of two reasons or both. Firstly, they may need to secure extra financing on an existing buy to let mortgage or more worryingly for the tenant, use this appraisal to justify a further rental rise. This method is being used more and more with landlords securing the highest yield possible on their investment properties. This trend will only continue as more private individuals mostly using credit, actively purchase several properties for their investment portfolios. This is basically an attempt to ride out the low savings rates left remaining because of the banking crash over a decade ago.

The problem is that tenant families are left with very little choice but to pay these increasing rents. Buying a house is widely accepted to be out of the reach of most first-time buyers with house prices literally going through the roof. Even before an expensive mortgage is taken into consideration, a huge deposit will have to be sourced which for most will prove an impossible task especially whilst still having to pay rent. And it will be a rental cost that is increasingly harder to meet every month.

Whilst this may seem like nothing more than an initial annoyance, it will invariably lead to more profound consequences. With no other alternatives but to pay the rent to keep a roof over their heads, families will have to sacrifice other essential items. These could be anything from heating, electricity, water and even food. What we will be witnessing is an inversely proportional relationship between household budget and expenditure.

So, a tenant could ask his employer for a wage increase but there is no guarantee this request will be met with a favourable reception. One could even be putting his/her job at risk, particularly in areas of low employment.

What does this all mean for rent?

The consensus of many wise institutions is that monthly household expenditure should ideally not exceed 30% of gross income. However, in cities such as Auckland, we may see that this percentage has been surpassed and is most likely much higher. In fact, recent figures suggest that weekly rents in Auckland are increasing four times as fast as those of weekly wages.

There is no one reason for this upshift in rents. However, it has been observed that with the increase in net migration into the region, net wages have consequently been held at relatively low levels.  This may have also put some pressure on the requirement for affordable rents. With the nature of supply and demand, this has meant only one direction for rents.

We guess the question might be, ‘is there a solution to all of this’?  Well arguably there could be many approaches to take. One of those may involve enacting some sort of legislation to limit the ability of landlords to increase rent within a given timeframe. This however, may lead to hardship on the part of the landlords (and perhaps rental agents) as most will still have to live within the confines of increasing inflation.

With all of this in mind, it seems sensible that the only real solution would be for the government to commit to a program of increasing the country’s housing supply. Basic economic principles suggest that if there are much more housing options available for rent, then rents will certainly have to remain at equitable levels due to the increased competition. Whilst some may not agree with this approach (including its potential impact on the environment for example), it is an option which perhaps should be seriously considered. Only then will we know if this will be a viable long-term strategy as opposed to a stop gap.

 

280 social housing apartments

Residents of 139 Greys Avenue, the existing building which has housed low-income Aucklanders since 1957, were told on Monday that a decision had been made to demolish their apartment block and replace it with a new complex, Scott Foley of the Greys Ave project team, said.

Tiny fix for big problem

Tiny homes provide the perfect option for trading down, people who might want to stay close to where they live while cashing up, and they can provide first-time buyers with a genuinely affordable first rung on the property ladder.

1000 homes on marine reserve?

An Auckland community that raised $320,000 to fight high-density housing next to Okura’s marine sanctuary is dismayed the developer is heading back to court to appeal council rules a second time.