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Congratulations! You’re making the big step of selling. So much to do: de-cluttering, cleaning, all those little DIY jobs that you’ve been putting off forever? With so much on your ‘To Do’ list and so much money floating out the door to get them all done, things like art often take the lowest priority, especially for areas like kid’s bedrooms, laundrys or bathrooms. But little touches like this can make all the difference – and tea towel art is your answer. Yes. Tea towels. 

This is very best kind of DIY: easy and cheap! Such fantastic designs are now available as the humble tea towel, you can even get your favourite artist in linen form. Here are some favourite local options:


See? Tea towels as art is totally legitimate. Once you’ve made your design choice (this one was from Citta Design, their current season is here) , here’s how to get it on the wall in a totally pro way.

  • Tea towel 
  • Canvas. You just need to make sure that the tea-towel can wrap around the canvas and be stapled onto the back. Hot tip: buy your tea-towel first and take it with you when choosing your canvas. Plenty of cheap options at The Warehouse, Warehouse Sationery or at places like Pete’s Emporium. You don’t need to worry about canvas quality at all, it won’t be seen and is just being used for its frame. For this project I used a 50cm x 60cm canvas.
  • Staple-gun and staples. Available at places like Warehouse Stationery or Mitre10 Mega.
  • Iron
  • Hammer (only if you need to hammer in any stubborn staples)
  • Pliers (if you need to pull out any staples).
Iron any creases out of the tea-towel. Be fussy, it pays off. Use it on steam setting for a super smooth surface, but iron it on the reverse to protect the screen-print (smudging the print with the heat of the iron would be game over).

Line up the tea towel on top of the canvas so you get the image positioned correctly, hold tightly and flip over onto a clean bath towel on the floor. I recommend the floor not a table so you can really put your weight into the stapling.

Pull the fabric taut so that it’s the smoothest surface possible on the reverse, just be careful you aren’t pulling so tight that the image distorts. Staple gun the tea towel to the inside edge of the canvas.  You’ll note that the intro image at the start of the post features some screwed up staples, a hammer and a pair of pliers? Stapling sometimes doesn’t go to plan. Hammer is if you need to hammer in any staples not quite in properly, pliers are for pulling out any really bad ones. Other than that, the only tricky part with this one is the corners. 
Here’s how we did it (and save this post if you ever plan a DIY upholstered headboard, it’s the same concept for that project too):
1. Pretend you are wrapping a present the proper way. You’ve got a top piece of material and a bottom piece right? The top piece is on the reverse of the frame, and the bottom piece is on the front of the frame. Place your finger at the corner. Use the length of your finger to create an indent in the material. Slide your finger in to the edge of the frame, then flip the top piece of material up and over your other finger. Probably best to leave this description to visuals!



2. Fold this top piece of material out of the way of the corner, hold in place and then staple:



3. After you’ve stapled, find a natural point to lift the remaining fabric from.



4. Lift over and staple the top piece. This approach means you don’t get any excess fabric on the edge of the frame.



5. Why go to all this trouble on the corners? Clean tidy finishing – Exhibit A:

You’re done! 30 minute project if that. This one was done for a kid’s bathroom to add a bit of interest  but this doesn’t have to be for the kids. Kitchens, offices, laundries, bedrooms, hallways: any room could benefit from this project really. Enjoy the hunt for the perfect design! 

Based on the latest QV House Price Index figures, the slowdown in property values has continued in Auckland and Hamilton, and is now much clearer in Wellington and Dunedin after they had previously shown some resistance. Tauranga is the only major city to buck the trend, although it’s still too early to call it a revival with three month growth only 1.6%. Christchurch values continue their year long trend of remaining as flat as the Christchurch plains.
It’s almost a year since the Reserve Bank of New Zealand’s (RBNZ) latest round of loan-to-value ratio (LVR) restrictions were released to the market, which tightened the availability of mortgages for both investors and owner occupiers. Previous rounds of LVR restrictions had no more than a six month impact. We’re way past that point now and there’s no real sign of recovery, especially in Auckland. So what’s different this time around?
Tougher limits (RBNZ)
Firstly I think it’s fair to say the latest restrictions are heavier handed than previous iterations. The 40% deposit requirement for property investors was introduced nationwide - previously this figure was 30% in Auckland and 20% outside of Auckland. The 20% deposit requirement for owner occupiers was also more strictly enforced across the country, when previously banks had more flexibility to allow exceptions.
Tighter lending criteria from the banks
On top of this, and perhaps this is the most important factor: Retail banks have implemented tighter lending criteria for mortgages too. The direct impact of this is clear, with the number of purchases requiring mortgages in 2017 to date down 24% against the same period a year ago. Compare this to  purchases without a mortgage, and they’re  only down 12%. So, the property market has slowed in general, but the mortgage market has slowed twice as much. 
In Auckland this contrast is even more obvious - with mortgaged purchases down 27% compared to non-mortgaged purchases which are down only 3%.
Interest rate impact
Retail interest rates are also slightly higher now, after bottoming out in the middle of 2016 - so this means people can’t borrow as much as they could previously. This is especially important when you’re already stretching yourself for a high LVR loan - Aucklanders in particular will understand that higher prices have an exponential effect on repayments. 
General Election
As always, this winter has produced a slowdown in property market activity. But as cold as it is, this isn’t unique to 2017. What is unique to 2017 is the upcoming General Election and all that comes with it. Policy announcements, headlines and resulting discussions all create uncertainty for anyone in the property market. Especially when so many policies are connected to our housing market. 
What’s going to happen with tax laws such as Capital Gains Taxes or Negative Gearing? Will there be a rental warrant of fitness enforced? Will our immigration policy be modified? Can anyone improve the outlook for housing supply? The answers to these questions could have varying degrees of impact on the property market, so any level of uncertainty may deter major decision making by those considering a property transaction.
Given all the above, I’m surprised that values haven’t actually dropped more! My take on this is that prices are being held up by stubborn sellers. They’re likely harbouring high expectations given recent value growth.  Provided they’re not desperate to sell, why would they accept a lower price than they wanted, especially if they know what the neighbour down the road sold for just six months ago?
Looking to the future is difficult, mainly because of the election. My short term outlook is that I don’t expect activity to pick up. CoreLogic has a unique measure of buyer demand, which shows me continued weakness across New Zealand, and seasonal patterns indicate that we’ll likely be waiting until late Spring or Summer at the earliest before we see any change.
More homeowners are selling properties for a profit based on the buoyant housing market conditions over the past few years, according to new data from CoreLogic.
In the first three months of 2017, 96.3% of all homes resold did so at a gross profit compared to their previous sale price, according to the CoreLogic March quarter Pain and Gain report. Owners pocketed a median gain of $167,000 per sale, with almost $4 billion in profits realised nationwide. 
Meanwhile, the number of properties resold at a gross loss dropped from 4.2% to just 3.7% compared to the previous three months. 
CoreLogic head of research Nick Goodall says strong, long term growth in national values is behind the reduction in properties reselling at a loss. However, he noted the picture was more uneven at a regional level with some areas performing better than others. 
“The key point is the percentage of properties reselling at a loss is low, and continues to drop across the board. As prices increase, it becomes less likely a property will sell at a loss.
“But the market is not delivering the same gains for everyone, with some regions as well as apartment owners and property investors more likely to face a loss with resales,” Goodall says.
Of the main centres, Christchurch had the highest proportion of properties resold at a loss in the first three months of the year at 7.9%, a slight increase from 6.9% in the previous quarter.  Dunedin had the second highest proportion of resale losses (2.7%), followed by Tauranga (2.5%), Auckland and Wellington (1.3%) and Hamilton (0.6%).
Outside the main urban areas, regions which performed strongest included Kapiti and Masterton, with just 0.8% and 0.6% of resales incurring a gross loss respectively. Parts of the Waikato region also had very low proportions of losses, due to their proximity to the Auckland and Tauranga markets. 
Overall, owner occupiers were much less likely to take a hit on resales than investors in the first three months of the year (2.9% compared to 4.7%). Exceptions included Hamilton, Tauranga and Dunedin where there was little difference in loss-making resales between the two market segments.
“Our analysis indicates investors occupy a riskier position in the market compared to owner occupiers, mainly due to the types of properties they buy and the parts of New Zealand they’re active in,” Goodall says. 
The report also found stand-alone houses were more likely to deliver profits than apartments in the first three months of the year, with just 3.4% of houses reselling at a loss compared to 7.4% of apartment resales. 
Download the new Pain and Gain report here.
The latest monthly QV House Price Index shows nationwide residential property values for June increased 8.1% over the past year which is the slowest annual rate since March 2015. Values rose by 1.2% over the past three months and the nationwide average value is now $639,051 which is 54.2% above the previous market peak of late 2007. When adjusted for inflation the nationwide annual increase drops slightly to 5.9% and values are now 28.8% above the 2007 peak. 
Residential property values across the Auckland Region increased 7.2% year on year which is the slowest annual rate of growth seen since September 2012. Quarterly value growth has plateaued at 0.0% over the past three months. The average value for the Auckland Region is now $1,045,059 and values are now on average 91.2% higher than the previous peak of 2007.  When adjusted for inflation values rose 4.9% over the past year and are 59.6% above the 2007 peak. 
QV National Spokesperson Andrea Rush said, “Values in the Auckland market continue to hold steady with the average value across the region remaining at just over $1 million dollars.”
“However, sales volumes in the Super City have plummeted to 30.0% lower than they were this time last year as high prices coupled with banks’ stricter lending criteria are making it increasingly difficult for anyone but cash buyers or those with higher levels of equity to buy property.”
“It has also become much more difficult for developers to gain finance to build new homes, which is now leading to a slow-down in building activity in the market.” 
“The CoreLogic Buyer classification data shows the share of sales to all buyers requiring a mortgage has dropped and the share of sales to cash buyers remains steady.” 
“Meanwhile, in the other main centres values are now rising again in Hamilton and Tauranga after decreasing earlier in the year.” 
“A slow-down in value growth in the Wellington market is now more evident in the QV House Price Index data and Porirua a previous hot spot has seen values decrease over the past quarter.” 
“The Christchurch market is flat, with some areas seeing a slight decrease in values over the past quarter, while values continue to rise in a relatively buoyant Dunedin market.”
“Values in regional centres such as the Kaipara District north of Auckland, the Hawkes Bay, Nelson and the Tasman District are now seeing stronger value growth than the main centres as buyers look to the regions in search of more affordable homes.”
Values across the Auckland Region are continuing to plateau with values remaining steady over at 0.0% change over the past three months.  Values have continued to rise in some parts of the Auckland region but have decreased in others. Auckland City – Islands rose the most over the past quarter with values rising 3.1% since April and 13.3% year on year. Rodney-North also continued to increase more quickly than other parts of the city up 2.2% over the past three months and 13.6% year on year. Values decreased in the Auckland City apartment market and also Auckland City East and South; as well as in Waitakere, Manukau-North West, Papakura and Franklin over the past three months.  
QV Auckland homevalue Manager, James Steele said, “There has been a drop in the level of activity in the Auckland market and sales volumes are down by 30% on the same time last year and we are now seeing an easing back on sale prices at most levels.”  
“A key characteristic of the market is that it is more difficult than it has been to obtain finance.  Lenders are asking a lot more questions than they used to, and are taking longer to process loans and get approvals back to customers.”
“Building activity is also slowing as builders are finding building costs have increased but they are not achieving the same sale prices as they were last year.”
“There are still some opportunities for first home buyers to purchase homes in Takanini, Papakura and Pukekohe priced under the KiwiSaver first home buyers’ scheme cap at $650,000.”
“However there are reports of deals falling over as buyers are finding it increasingly difficult to raise finance under banks’ increasingly strict lending criteria.”
“Well-presented, well-maintained properties in desirable locations sell well, but properties that don’t tick those boxes can sit on the market for longer.”
“There are plenty of options for people looking to buy, and the fear of missing out is long gone.”
Hamilton City home values are rising again up by 1.2% over the past three months and 9.5% year on year. Values are now 49.2% higher than the previous peak of 2007. The average value in the Hamilton is now $539,357.
QV homevalue Hamilton valuer, Stephen Hare said, “Values in the Hamilton city market have plateaued over the past month. “
“However, sales volumes have picked up recently, however the average time on the market for a residential property has lengthened and this is giving buyers more opportunity to negotiate on price and conditions of purchase.” 
“With the heat now having come out of the market clearance rates have fallen at auctions, however properties continue to see multi offers and many are still selling above the asking prices.” 
“In turn listing prices or negotiations are becoming the more desirable option with people less inclined to take risk auctioning in the current market.”
The drop off in the number of investors at the entry level of the market has created more opportunities for first home buyers, who were previously getting beaten when vying for properties.”
“There are a good number of low-mid homes currently on the market in the lower price bracket of between $350K and $500K which is giving first home buyers a better chance to get into the market. 
Tauranga home values have increased by 14.6% year on year and 1.6% over the past three months. Values there are now 42.8% higher than the previous peak of 2007. The average value in the city is $687,364. Meanwhile, Western Bay of Plenty values have increased 16.3% year on year and 3.7% over the past three months. The average value in the district is now $612,363.
QV homevalue Tauranga, Registered Valuer, David Hume said, “Demand for Mount Maunganui based properties remains strong and record prices continue to be achieved. 
“Desirable suburbs around Tauranga such as Matua, Bethlehem and the Avenues are also continuing to see strong levels of demand and record prices being achieved for well-located and presented properties.”
“The Western Bay of Plenty market is also showing steady demand although at the same frantic levels seen throughout 2016 and values are still rising but not as quickly as they were.”
“Strong migration to the area and a lack of rental accommodation continues to push rents up, with Tauranga now the third most expensive city in New Zealand and an average rental of $475 per week.”
“Activity in the investor market is at more normalised levels to that witnessed through 2015/16 as a result of the LVR restrictions to 40% equity required.” 
The QV House Price Index shows quarterly value growth in the Wellington region has eased back from previous highs of 5 to 6% a quarter to 2.4% over the past three months. Values were up 18.0% in the year since June 2016 and are now 33.8% higher than in the previous peak of 2007. The average value across the wider region is now $609,552. 
The Kapiti Coast District once again saw the highest quarterly value growth rising 5.3% over the past three months; followed by Wellington City’s Western suburbs where values rose 4.3% over the same period. Meanwhile, values dipped slightly by 0.4% in Porirua in the three months since April.
QV homevalue Registered Valuer, David Cornford said, “The Wellington market remains robust however the rate of value growth has slowed considerably.”
“The onset of winter has seen a decrease in buyer demand and the market is relatively quiet with less active buyers compared to the same time 12 months ago.”
“First home buyers however remain active in the market and well-presented and well located properties are still selling well and are generally achieving strong prices. However, properties with undesirable characteristics are taking longer to sell and buyers appear to be adopting a more cautious approach regarding their purchasing decisions and they are in less of a hurry compared to 12 months ago.”
“New listings and overall listings are up compared to the same time last year and the number of days it’s taking properties to sell has also risen. When you add to this the fact that sales volumes are lower compared to the same time last year and the rate of value growth has eased back, we can confirm we are now seeing an overall slowing in the market.”
Christchurch City values remain flat rising just 1.1 % in the year since June 2016 and they decreased slightly by 0.1% over the past three months. Values in the city are now 30.8% higher than the previous peak of 2007.
QV homevalue Christchurch, Registered Valuer Daryl Taggart said, “It’s definitely winter in the Christchurch housing market with a slow-down in activity and demand and a corresponding stagnation is value growth being seen.” 
“Listings levels are higher and homes are taking longer to sell in the market currently. 
“It appears there is less optimism and confidence in where values are going in the market currently and it’s not only taking longer to sell property here but it’s also harder to buy with banks being stricter with their lending criteria."
Dunedin home values are continuing the upward trend seen over the past 18 months and the market is seemingly unaffected by recent LVR restrictions or stricter lending criteria that is effecting sales volumes in other parts of the country. 
Home values in the city rose 14.6% in the year since June 2016 and 3.2% over the past three months and values are now 31.1% above the previous peak of 2007. The average value in the city is now $375,371. 
QV homevalue Dunedin Valuer, Aidan Young said, “Demand remains strong in the Dunedin market and there is currently a shortage of properties listed for sale which is typical for the winter months.” 
“With supply out-stripping demand in the market, multi-offer scenarios remain common for well-presented properties in desirable locations and first home buyers remain active in the market.”
The strongest annual growth has been seen in the Dunedin Peninsular and coastal suburbs with values there up 19.2% in the year to June. “Meanwhile, quarterly growth has been strongest in Dunedin’s Southern and Central suburbs.”
Nelson home values rose 15.6% year on year and 1.9% over the past three months. The average value in the city is now $532,120.  Meanwhile values in the Tasman District have risen 17.3% year on year and 4.4% over the past three months and are 33.3% higher than in the previous peak of 2007. The average value in the district is now $535,118. 
QV Nelson, Registered Valuer Craig Russell said, “The property market continues its upwards trend but appears to be showing signs of value growth slowing despite strong sales volumes and the lack of current listings.”
“Good prices are still being achieved however the market is more evenly keeled and properties with undesirable features are sitting on the market for longer.”
“Sales volumes in Nelson and Tasman have increased in recent months in a bucking of the trend seen across many other parts of the country.”
“Section sales particularly in Richmond and Stoke have been strong as a lack of land supply has put pressure on land values.”
“The announcement of large scale SHA’s in the Tasman District is a step in the right direction to increase the supply of sections.”
Hawkes Bay
Values continue to rise strongly across the Hawkes Bay region. Napier values rose 18.8% year on year and 4.7% over the past three months. The average value in the city is now $442,986 and values are now 30.2% above the previous peak of 2007. The Hastings market also continues to see strong value growth rising 21.6% year on year and a huge 5.4% over the past three months and the market is now 34.8% higher than 2007. The average value there is now $420,155. Values Central Hawkes Bay have jumped 8.0% over the past three months and 21.4% in the year since June 2016
QV homevalue Hawkes Bay, Registered Valuer Michelle Drinkrow said, “We are still seeing demand outstripping supply in the Hawkes Bay market with a lack of listings and vacant land and while the market is less frenzied than it was it’s still buoyant.
“We continue to see high numbers of out of town buyers particularly Aucklanders selling up and moving to the area in search of a better lifestyle and better bang for their buck. 
“There is lots of activity from first home buyers who meet the criteria for KiwiSaver assistance.”
“We do not seem to be seeing the same impact of the new lending restrictions in the market here, although things are not quite as frenzied as they were, investors remain active in the lower price brackets if the numbers stack up for them they are happy to take on risks.”
“In a trend not seen since prior to the previous peak of 2007, Central Hawkes Bay is now reaping the benefit of people moving from Napier and Hastings in search of more affordable property within commuting distance of the main centres.”
Provincial centres
Values increased in all provincial areas of the North Island over the past year and there were only a handful of areas to see a decrease over the past three months. These included parts of Auckland; the Wairoa District near Gisborne where values dropped 7.8% and are still 35.8% lower than the previous peak of 2007; and South Taranaki district where values dropped by 1.0% over the past three months but rose 4.8% year on year. Meanwhile, rose more strongly in many provincial areas than the main centres. This includes in the Kaipara District north of Auckland where values jumped 10.5% over the past three months and 24.3% year on year. And in the Wairarapa which is continuing to benefit from a flow-on effect of recent price hikes in the Wellington Region. Masterton values jumped 23.3% year on year and 5.0% over the past three months; Carterton was also up 24.0% year on year and 4.2% over the past three months; and the South Wairarapa District up 25.5% year on year and 6.3% over the past quarter.
In the South Island most areas saw values rise over the past year with the exception of parts of Christchurch East and Banks Peninsula, as well as Ashburton and Buller and Grey Districts on the Westcoast all of which saw values drop in the year to June. The Westland District however bucked this trend with values there rising 5.3% over the past three months and 15.6% year on year. The Waitaki District also saw values jump 6.7% over the past three months and they rose 17.0% year on year. And values in Southland rose 2.2% over the past three months and 17.1% year on year which is the strongest growth seen in this area for some time.