NZ Housing Shortage And What It Means For Buyers

It’s been more than 10 years now that the real estate prices are shooting up at a dramatic rate in New Zealand. This is particularly true of Auckland where the number of newly constructed buildings are far from meeting the rise in population.

In the largest urban area of the country, the average price of a house was around  $916,900.00 last year, up 2.2% from the previous year. Since 2010, the number of homes for sale in the city has actually dropped by 58%, which has pushed up the average price by 88%.

But for buyers, the shortage situation can also land some incredible opportunities. In this article, we tell you what you need to know about the housing shortage in New Zealand and what it means for buyers.

Demographic growth and housing shortage

According to a recent report by the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD), a major factor for pushing up housing prices in New Zealand is the high level of immigration, especially since 2012. New Zealand has been facing skill shortages for the past few years and implemented schemes to attract a qualified workforce, preferably young, who have the skills and the financial means to invest, a good knowledge of English, and can easily fill an available job.

For the New Zealand government, immigration is above all a means to ensure the development and competitiveness of the national economy. As a consequence, legal immigrants make up the bulk of immigration flows, and Illegal immigration is limited. That’s also because of the insular nature of the territory, which facilitates the control of population movements. But the problem is that the housing supply did not follow, and New Zealand is not able to house its newcomers anymore —who usually want to settle in Auckland. But even outside of Auckland, prices have been soaring, even in the apparent absence of strong population growth.

The roots of the lack of housing supply

For some experts, the explanation is simple. The construction sector just can’t catch up. The supply response is highly constrained by restrictive and complex town planning rules. The governance of land use is marked by a number of rules, from land clearance to environmental standards. The administrative hassles are so numerous for real estate companies, estate agents and builders that many of them are deterred to develop housing projects.

The construction sector has also been pulled down by insufficient working capacity. Selected immigration has partly solved the skill shortage crisis in New Zealand, but it has increased the need for unskilled workers to provide them with housing. The construction industry does not have enough skilled workers to meet the demand, hampering any rapid progress and considerably increasing the cost of construction. Moreover, since the early 1990s, the supply of new homes moved from low-cost housing to high-end real estate, became less and less affordable.

The failure of housing policies

Some say the housing shortage in New Zealand will be the demise of the Labour Coalition, who have failed to solve it adequately despite making it a high priority. In 2018, the government passed a law prohibiting foreigners from buying residential properties. The law provided that non-resident investors, i.e. people who are neither New Zealand citizens or permanent residents in New Zealand, will not be able to purchase existing homes or other residential land. The provisions remain different for commercial property investment.

Expected to stop the hike in real estate prices, the reform really aimed at preventing investors living abroad, especially in China, from buying homes in New Zealand… The housing shortage was attributed to the growing property appetite of foreign investors with a higher purchasing power than New Zealanders. But some figures show that foreign investors make only 3% of the investors… 

This reform was also supposed to leave more opportunities for the local Kiwis, but it didn’t. New Zealand house prices are still among the highest in the world. The average home price in Auckland is the seventh highest in the world, while Christchurch and Wellington are also considered “severely unaffordable” by the Demographia International Housing Affordability Survey of 2019.

At the same time, the Labour coalition government also launched the KiwiBuild scheme aimed at building 100,000 homes over 10 years. 1,000 were scheduled for the first year, but only 47 were built early 2019. The Housing Minister already had to take a step back and admit that the government won’t meet the target. Some critics also noticed that these houses were actually way more expensive than the average!

The persistence of buying opportunities

These reforms barely impact the numerous kiwis who wish to buy a house or apartment as a pied-à-terre. Each investment project is different in New Zealand, depending on the reason for the purchase of a property and a first home mortgage. For buyers who are looking for quick bucks, the situation can look pretty bright. In light of the housing shortage, getting buyers at a later stage or renting your flat will not be an issue!

For those who have a limited budget, it will be easier in low-density areas. The coastal areas and the low-populated hinterlands are beautiful regions with amazing nature and transport infrastructure. The demand for long-term property is low, but it can be an opportunity for investing in tourists rentals or simply for a secondary home. Property lawyers can help you with that. A house on the Lake Taupo or a flat in Queenstown to capitalize the skiing season are key investments. 

For a buyer who wants to get regular rental incomes and mid-term or long-term capital gains, it’s advised to invest in student flat in city centres, where most educational institutions are located, and where the prices are climbing the fastest. Even though the prices are already very high, a flat in the centre of Auckland could be a great and easy investment as the management can be given to rental agencies. Trust lawyers can help you set up a partnership.

5 flats you’ll have in your 20s

We start out bulletproof 20-somethings who never get hangovers; become slightly apathetic entry-level job workers; then, devastating breakup survivors (following a bender, or taking up yoga – but not both), do OEs in London/Europe, and fly home to settle and kick on towards the “big 3-oh”.

Homes completed after liquidation

​Fargher Construction, which operated A1 Homes in Hawke’s Bay, Gisborne and Taupō, left creditors out of pocket to the tune of $1.6 million, but all homes under construction have been completed, says A1 Home general manager Matt Cunliffe.

Pros and Cons of Selling your Home Before Buying a New One

In general, the majority of people sell the home that they are living in at the same time as buying a new home, but this does create a property chain. If you decide to sell your home before you buy your new home there are some risks, however, there are also some pros. Let’s look at some of the pros and cons of selling.

The Pros:

– In an ideal world, it would be great if you could sell your old home and buy your new one at the same time and all timelines therefore match. However, it’s not likely that things will run so smoothly. What you don’t want is the risk of having two mortgages and for this reason, it is better to sell your current home before you buy a new one.

– If you sell your home before you buy your new home you’ll be in a stronger position when you buy. A seller would prefer to buy from somebody who already has the money to hand or has a mortgage, which has been preapproved. This is more appealing than getting involved in a chain where the sale of their home depends upon the buyer finding someone to buy their home.

– You’ll feel in better control when it comes to the sale of your own property.  This is simply because you won’t feel like you need to sell your house quickly and cheaply as you are not in any rush to sell. 

– You are less likely to be cheated out of a home. If you put forward a decent offer than a buyer is not likely to take an offer from someone else, especially if it means that they will end up in a property chain.

– If house prices are falling when you plan to buy then you are more likely to get an affordable property.

– You will know how much money you have to spend on a house because you already have the money from the sale of your own property. This means that when you buy your new home, the amount that you can spend is clear; as you already know the amount of money you have from the sale of your existing property. Also, bear in mind that you are more likely to get a good price if you find a home where the seller needs to move a.s.a.p. Storage solutions and shipping container conversions can help make sure that furniture doesn’t become an issue. Moving companies will have links to companies that can store your goods. 

– You may not feel ready to commit, as you may not fully know whether the potential neighborhood is somewhere you want to live permanently. For this reason, a lot of people prefer to rent for a short period of time as this allows them the chance to get to know the new neighborhood and experience whether it is the right place for them. Although you may feel like you are wasting your money by renting, it is far worse to buy a property that you don’t like and then have to sell.  This will cost you a lot more in the long run.

The Cons:

– If house prices are on the increase it may mean that by the time you have managed to sell your house and found somewhere to rent, a new home may not be as affordable. For instance, if you have to rent a home for six months and house prices rise by 5% in those six months, you’ll have to get a property that is 5% less expensive.

Although it can be stressful renting a property, being cheated out of a home, selling your property for less than what it’s worth or being stuck in a chain are far worse.

Some Tips to Bear in Mind

– If you do decide to sell your home before you buy a new one, try and ensure that you have organised many things as you can i.e. the mortgage.  This way you’ll be in a good position to buy quickly if need be.

– Make sure that you get your mortgage pre-approved, as this is a good selling point to a seller.

– Once you decide that you are ready to sell, think carefully about what price you want to sell your property for.  It is worth taking a look at the performance of the estate agents in your area before you decide on which estate agent to use. You can also consider using an online estate agent and once again look at the packages and ratings that they can offer you.

– Make sure you build good relationships with more than one estate agent before you sell your home. This way you will be first in their minds when any properties that suit your needs come to the market.

– Before you sell your home make sure that you do your research. Think carefully about what sort of property you wish to live in and also the area that you want your home to be in.

– Always keep your eye on the property market whilst you are selling your home otherwise you may miss out on your ideal new home. Time is on your side so take advantage of this.

– If possible try to slow down the selling process. You can do this by agreeing on the period between exchange and agreeing on an offer. Also, you can agree the time period between completion and exchange. This way you may buy yourself more time so that you can buy the home that you have wanted.

It’s clear to see that there are many more pros to selling your home before you buy a new one if it works out this way for you when you come to moving home. 

What Are The Property Manager’s Requirements On Move-In

Most of us are aware of what the role of an estate agent is. However, a lot of people are not sure what the role of a property manager is and what their day-to-day duties require. In fact, the role of the homes property manager is crucial as they are the people who make sure that a property either holds or increases its value. A property manager can also deal with the a-z of rental properties. Other terms that cover a similar role are residential property managers and apartment property management. Both of which perform a similar role to a property manager. In this article, we will take a specific look at what a property manager is required to do before a tenant moves into a new property. 

Once a property manager has found a tenant for a rental property, the next step is for the property manager to make sure that the property is ready for the tenant to move in.  There are some steps that a property management company need to take into account to ensure that the whole process runs smoothly. As a property manager, it is worth getting into a good routine and following the steps below for each new tenant as this way it will be easier each time a property is rented out and any confusion and problems can be avoided.

Cleaning

Cleaning of the property is important especially if another tenant has been previously living in the rental property. Aspects such as the refrigerator, cooker, toilets, bathtubs and upholstery cleaning will need to be taken care of. It is also worth looking at the exterior of the property. You may need to get in touch with an exterior house washing company, as well as a commercial window cleaning company. Even if the property is brand-new, the property will still need a vacuum and a general clean before a tenant moves in. 

Repairs

If there is any damage to the property, this will need repairing before a new tenant moves in. Damage could be something as simple as repairing a broken door lock.  Additionally, the property manager needs to ensure that there are no health and safety problems. For example, there must be two forms of exit from the property and both smoke and carbon monoxide detectors need to be working. Another health aspect that needs checking is if there any signs of mould and if so, a mould removal company will need to be contacted. This kind of maintenance is crucial to ensure the health and safety of the prospective tenant.  

Plumbing and Electrics

A property manager will be required to check that all the utilities are working. This is regardless of whether the new tenant is paying for the utilities or not. The heating in each room will need to be checked to ensure that there are no leaks or blockages in the plumbing. The lighting also needs to be checked to make sure that it is in full working order.

Locks

Each time a new tenant moves into a property, the locks on the doors should really be changed. It not only protects the new tenant, it also protects you from any liability. It is not worth risking the fact that an old tenant still has keys to a property that they no longer living in, so it is worth spending the money on new locks to avoid any of these problems.

The Lease

The property manager will need to go over the lease agreement thoroughly to ensure that the tenant understands what they are signing and agreeing to. Once the property manager has gone over the lease agreement with the tenant and all questions have been answered, the lease needs to be signed and dated. 

Security Deposit and Rent

Before the tenant moves into the property, the security deposit and first month’s rent needs to be collected.  If the tenant does not pay this on time, then it is highly likely that this tenant may be late with future rental payments.

Checklist

On the day that the tenant moves into the property, the property manager needs to go over the moving checklist with the new tenants. The checklist describes the general condition of the property and is more specific with the details when it comes to each individual room. This checklist is important as it enables you to compare the property before the tenant moves into a property compared to when the new tenant moves out. The tenant will need to sign and date this checklist. 

Tenants Requests

On occasion, a tenant may have a special request which may be out of the ordinary. For instance:

– They may have a housing voucher

– They may wish to install a dishwasher or washing machine before moving in

– They may have a disability which means they require an animal

– They may want the property to be painted in a specific colour.

If the situation is more of a preference rather than a need, it is up to the property manager to decide whether they are okay happy with the request. It is important, however, to remember to add any special requests in the lease agreement. For instance, if you plan to charge the tenants $600 to re-carpet the property, this needs to be written into the lease so that you have evidence that the tenant has okayed these terms. 

Your Contact Details

Your tenant needs to have your contact details so it is important that you provide these to them. This enables your tenant to be able to contact you if they have an issue or a question. The property manager needs to provide either an email address or phone number and it’s important to highlight the tenant should only contact you during business hours unless it’s in an emergency situation.

It should now be clear what the role of a property manager is and what they have to do before a tenant moves into a new rental property. 

How To Keep Your Garage Safe And Secure

Having a garage is something that many people aspire to. We’re serious! For many people, even a simple car park would be amazing, let alone an entire garage to keep your vehicle and belongings safe. So it’s no wonder that when you finally get a garage, you’ll not only want to keep your garage safe and secure, but all the belongings you lovingly stow inside it as well. 

The good news is that we’ve got you covered on both aspects. Today we’re looking at how to not only keep your garage itself in great shape, but also how to ensure your belongings inside stay safe from threats of theft or vandalism. 

BUILDING SAFETY 

First, let’s review how to keep your garage in great shape. 

  • Garage door

Keep your garage door moving often, and make sure to open and close it once you return from a trip or a long time away. This is because the tracks and rollers of the garage door can become stiff and stuck if not used regularly. Check the tracks for debris and clean with a power house or vacuum. We’d also recommend lubricating the tracks approximately once a year, after you’ve cleaned them well. 

  • Insulation 

Keeping your garage insulated isn’t just for comfortably hanging out in the garage. It’s also to keep what’s in the garage safe from chill and damp air. If you store anything made of wood in the garage, it’s likely to warp and crack if susceptible to the change in humidity and temperature from the outside. Insulating the garage will help reduce chill and keep out wet, keeping what you store in the garage lasting longer. 

  • Fire protection 

This should be an obvious one, but many people don’t think about fire safety for their garage. It’s vital that you keep at least a fire extinguisher in an easily accessible place. Remember that it’s not just for the safety of your valuables in your garage, it’s also keeping the rest of your home and property safe, as fire can travel quickly. 

Other ways to keep your garage safe from fire are to keep paints, chemicals and other flammable items stored in a shed away from the garage and house. Have a heat alarm and smoke alarm installed in the garage, and if possible, install a fire door if your garage is attached to your house. This will help keep the fire in the garage rather than traveling to inside your home. Ensure that you are following council building inspections if renovating or building a garage, as they will have strict regulations for building materials that help prevent fires. Finally, follow basic fire safety in your garage just as you would in your home, by not overloading outlets with multiple extension cords, keeping an eye out for frayed cords on all your machinery and power tools, and avoiding smoking in your garage.

THEFT SAFETY AND SECURITY 

Let’s move on to how to keep your valuables safe in your garage. 

  • Locks on everything 

This one goes for not only keeping your valuables safe, but also keeping small children or pets out of dangerous items. Think about your deep freezer and land and garden equipment for a second. A small child could potentially open up your freezer, crawl in, and be unable to reopen it. Lawn and garden equipment is sometimes easily started, and accidents can easily happen. Keep these basic things locked down to kill two birds with one stone – you’ll prevent any easily preventable accidents, plus keep these objects safe from theft. 

Obviously having a lock on your garage door and side doors is important, but the sliding garage doors can often be easily overridden. Make sure to always keep your garage opener inside the house or in a place where it can be locked down. For the automatic sliding garage door, always padlock the door if you’re going to be away for more than your usual workday. Disable the opener if going on holiday. 

  • Security systems 

A security system is a great way to keep your garage safe from theft. You can also keep this fairly cheap if adding on to your current house security system. For example, if your garage is attached or close to your house, position CCTV cameras so that it can capture both the garage entrances and parts of your house. We recommend having an obvious security camera and signage by a door or the automatic door to prevent theft as well. 

Motion detector lights are a good way to ward off thieves, and fairly cheap to install. Have one right out in front of the garage, and also one inside if possible. 

  • Fortify any side doors 

Often garage doors are a cheap, low quality wood or other material that can be easily kicked in or damaged. If you aren’t able to install a higher quality material door, like metal or reinforced wood, take your current door up a notch by installing a good deadbolt. Consider adding a lock reinforcer to the door handle and lock as well. There are also door alarms you can set, which will emit a loud noise if the door is opened without disabling the lock. 

  • Protect windows 

Windows are another easy target for thieves, as garage windows aren’t usually as strong or fortified with locks like many home windows are. At minimum, consider spraying windows with a frosting spray, or use a sticking translucent film like this one to prevent anyone from looking in. Many times, thieves will scope out a place first before risking to rob it, so prevent them from knowing exactly what you have in your garage and window shopping! 

We hope this article helps you keep your garage safe and secure from both the elements, and any prying eyes looking to pick themselves up a new power tool or vehicle! 

Hottest Property Markets This Month

Looking to buy a new home this year? Or perhaps thinking about trying your hand in commercial property investment? Whatever your investments will be this year, there are definitely places that are worth investing in, and others you should hold off on. In this article, we are wrapping up the hottest property markets at the moment around the world to help you decide whether it’s time to call up your property lawyer and jump on some of these up and coming areas. 

Germany 

Berlin is not only the official capital of Germany, but also the vibrant culture capital and the second most populous city in Europe. It boasts a massive art and music scene, with well over hundreds of museums, many of them free, plus art galleries and music halls. It’s truly the place to be, and holds a special place in many European’s hearts for a great place to visit, live and work. 

Berlin is also a super hot market right now not only in family homes but in industrial real estate as well. The last 10 to 20 years has seen the property prices soar for both personal and commercial property, which means if you’ve already invested in Berlin, congratulations! You’re likely doing quite well for yourself! If you’re just looking into investing here, it’s still a hot time for the market and you should still see some return on investment if you are acting fast. 

Interestingly, Germans often tend to rent instead of buying their homes. This is in stark contrast to their neighbours across the pond in the United Kingdom, the United States or many other places in the world that tie a lot of value to owning their own home. Germans tend to struggle getting a home loan due to tight requirements from German banks, and it’s simply not in the culture to buy at the moment. What this means is that the recent boom in real estate investment in Berlin is likely due to foreign investment, and will continue to be so until this trend changes. 

Croatia 

Zagreb, the capital of Croatia is hurtling toward a tipping point in the property market. They are seeing over 20% increases for condos in 2018, which is a sign of a booming economy. Again, foreign investment is spurring this on, creating an increase of prices as well as increase in development. The country is also catching up with many parts of the world, adding in digital real estate agencies and additional Airbnb type rentals. Tourism has been spurred by these factors, as Croatia is still relatively cheap to travel to and around, but there’s plenty of infrastructure as well. Development has been a hot topic in Croatia too, with many urban areas getting brand new housing developments and plenty of new inventory on the way. 

Portugal 

Portugal is seeing a massive uptick in tourism, and in turn their economy is swelling. Portugal has historically been a cheaper place to visit and travel, but this is all changing as the spotlight is sticking to places like Lisbon. Prices are still quite cheap in Lisbon, the beautiful capital of Portugal, so now is the time to snap up a condo and use it for summer trips or rent it out in the high seasons. Rentals like Airbnb are quite popular all across Europe, and it’s a great way to make some income when not using the condo. 

Portugal also has an interesting system with foreign investment. They offer fast tracks to citizenship with certain property purchases in underdeveloped areas, which has helped to boost the economy and home prices. We will definitely be keeping our eyes on this area as it booms over the next decade. 

Sweden 

Sweden boasts a high quality of life, like many of the Scandanavian countries, due to things like easily accessible health care, education and freedom. There are other theories as well, like how these countries tend to rely on collaboration, or that the gender gap has managed to stay quite low. 

Sweden has had an interesting year, with what looked to be a quickly rising housing market to a suddenly falling one, due to new building regulations and other political factors. What we’re now seeing is a low availability of property, but also super low prices. Many foreign investors are nabbing up some of the higher end properties, grabbing luxury where most Swedes can’t afford it at the moment. 

The less than hot markets 

On the opposite end of the spectrum, we’re seeing the normally extremely hot markets in places like London, Paris and Vancouver finally starting to lose some heat. In London, Brexit has affected market prices as those looking to buy are holding off until there is more certainty and stability in the market. 

Vancouver is seeing a massive decrease in their luxury market, with luxury homes dropping in price month over month. Now is the time to buy in London and Vancouver if you’re looking to get a typically higher end home in great neighbourhoods for less. 

And finally, here in New Zealand, we’re beginning to see some results from the latest bans on foreign investments. House prices have slowed their increases for the first time in 7 years, which is a welcome relief for those on the house hunt. In addition, the increase in housing construction has finally started reversing the trend for almost a decade, where it’s been extremely difficult for Kiwis to find a home, especially those buying a home for the first time. Trust lawyers, conveyancing services and real estate agents are welcoming the trend as Kiwis are able to start investing in their country. 

That wraps up our update on the hottest property markets around the world right now. If you’ve got the investment funds, check out some of these areas before the bubble bursts, or prices become too hot to handle!