Buying a Property in New Zealand

Once you have decided that you want to live in New Zealand you might start to consider buying a property. Luckily when compared to the property market in the UK, the whole process is a lot simpler and much more secure in NZ. Properties traditionally do well so you stand to get a good gain on your investment – with no Capital Gains Tax to pay. Here’s our brief guide on buying a property in New Zealand.

The property market in New Zealand is nowhere near the peak of 2007 when prices rose almost 94%. Since then they’ve fallen victim to the recession too however prices are increasing slightly, up by 1.8% from July – September 2012. It’s a buyer’s market and sellers are willing to negotiate.

Average New Zealand House Prices and Costs

With the market fluctuating so much it will be impossible to state an up to date median house price but as of June 2012 the average price of a property in New Zealand was NZ$372,000 (£187,694). This compares favourably with the UK but remember that prices will go up and some areas are more expensive than others.

Herne Bay in Auckland is one of the most expensive parts of New Zealand with properties going for a cool $1.85 million, whilst Patea in Taranaki is one of the cheapest areas where you can pick up a home for just $75,000 yet you can probably guess which of these areas is the most desirable. Cities are going to be expensive so if you are on a budget it’s worth looking at the suburbs which have good transport links into the city.

Other costs to consider include registration fees of around $50 if you are buying with a mortgage as well as the usual solicitors and inspection fees. As in the UK, the estate agent fees are paid by the seller.

The House Buying Process

If you find a house you like, you should put an offer in writing to the estate agent. You can make the offer conditional on the results of searches and mortgages but should someone else make an unconditional offer, the seller can take their offer over yours.

Once you are both agreed and the offer is accepted, a 10% deposit will be paid by yourself and both you and the seller are then legally committed to the sale. The whole process takes around 6 weeks to complete.

Finding a Property for Sale in New Zealand

Rightmove has a New Zealand property guide and can search hundreds of properties for sale. Realestate is the biggest online resource. National and local newspapers can also help and The New Zealand Herald has a property section.

You can also pop into local estate agent offices, although you should ensure they are registered with the Real Estate Agents Licensing Board. Remember that agents are paid by the seller so don’t be fooled into thinking they are on your side. Try ExpatFocus’s good guide to searching for a property in NZ.