Buying a Home

When buying a property, as well as finding something that will suit your lifestyle, there are a lot of other factors that you will need to check. Check out our handy checklist – perfect for open homes, by checking out the points below, you may save you a lot of time and money in the long run.


House Hunting Checklist

  • Noise – anything loud or annoying that may affect your ability to live comfortably in the house. This could be anything from airports or motorways close by, to noisy neighbours.
  • Sun – Sun can play a big part in heating your house. Look for where the sun hits at certain points throughout the day. You may prefer morning sun through the main bedroom but afternoon soon through the living room for example. Think about how much sun the house will get in winter as well as summer.
  • Insulation – as much as sun can heat the house you need to make sure the house has adequate insulation through the walls and roof. This can also be aided by double glazing of the windows. Without it, in winter especially, you may end up with a very cold house or high power bills.
  • Water or damp issues – Look out for any areas of dampness throughout the house and any areas that may be letting water through. You may also need to look out for any issues that could point to the property being a leaky home.
  • Significant damage or cracks – some damage might be superficial, in that it would just cost to fix the visible issue. But some damage or cracks may be pointing to more serious issues, like the floor not being level.
  • Electrics – do the electrical fittings look modern? You may need to look at getting older fittings replaced.
  • Water pressure – check the taps and showers to see if the water pressure is as expected.
  • Windows and doors – do they open easily? Are they well sealed? If not, this might be fairly easy to fix or could be an unnecessary headache.

One thing you may also want to determine is why the current owner is selling. This may be something simple like they want to upsize with a growing family, but it may also point to something more sinister like problems with the house or neighbourhood.

Other things to consider

  • Transport links – do you need to be able to access public transport regularly to say commute into the city for work?
  • Schooling – If you’re bringing up a family buying within the zones for certain schools can be very important. It is also a good selling point even if you don’t need a school yourself.
  • Amenities – Being close to shops, supermarkets and parks can be more convenient and practical.
  • Safety of neighbourhood – is the neighbourhood safe? This can be especially relevant information if bringing up children.
  • Proximity to your friends and family or to work – for some this might not matter but others may like being near to people they know and trust. Also, being close to your work may reduce the length of your commute, leaving you more time at home.
  • Parking – is there sufficient parking for you and any visitors?

Weighing up properties

It’s unlikely you’ll be able to find, or afford, a property that has absolutely everything you’d like. Try to agree the things you need to have and the things you’d like to have. You might decide you need 3 bedrooms and a garage but on top of that you’d like a 4th bedrooms and a large section.

You’ll probably have to compromise on some things with the property you buy but the right one should ideally have all of your needs and a good amount of the extras.

Latest News & Articles

Nick Goodall, Senior Research Analyst, CoreLogic NZ Ltd
The QV House Price Index stats are out for December and what most stood out for me was the drop in value month-on-month for 12 of the 72 cities/districts nationwide, perhaps most notably in Auckland as well as in Hamilton. 
Upon reflection however, this stat isn’t completely surprising for two reasons. Firstly, we’d already seen a cooling off in the previous months - Auckland’s annual change had dropped from 15.9% in August to 12.8% in November, and to the latest figure of 12.2% in December. Hamilton’s annual change had dropped from 31.5% in July to 23.1% in November, and now 20.4% in December. Secondly, we’ve seen the impact of previous LVR limits over the Christmas period before: after the original restrictions in late 2015 required a 30% deposit for investors in Auckland, values dropped 0.8% from December 2014 to February 2015. 
So this is nothing new, but after the small drop over 2015/2016, values in Auckland grew 9.2% over the subsequent six months to August 2016.  Are we likely to see a rebound in values this time? In all likelihood I’d say yes - we’ll see a similar, if slightly more subdued, trend emerge this year.  
While some potential buyers have been affected by the latest LVR limits, it doesn’t appear to have been enough to significantly reduce competition for the limited number of properties that are available.
Also, rising mortgage interest rates may reduce the total amount that people can borrow (and therefore pay), so this may have more of an effect on rising prices, hence the growth being more subdued. In the end though there’s still a demand/supply imbalance with new construction improving slowly, and net migration picked to stay in the large positives for the foreseeable future.
It’s also important to remember that at the same time as tightening the LVR limits for investors, the Reserve Bank also reduced the amount of high LVR loans that banks were able to offer to owner-occupiers.
This has led to a drop in activity across the board. Sales volumes in late 2016 across all six of the main centres are down on the same period for 2015 and there’s been no major change in the mix of buyers in the market according to our nationwide Buyer Classification series. Investors continue to pick up roughly 40% of sales and first home buyers 21%. Other owner-occupiers (those moving between homes) did dip away slightly at the end of the year – going from 27.7% of sales in Q3 to 26.2% in Q4 – perhaps holding back due to increased uncertainty in the market.
This share between investors/first-home buyers/home movers does vary by location. Auckland investors finally ventured to Dunedin, but not exactly en mass. They accounted for 5% and 4% of sales in Q3 and Q4 respectively – up from a recent average of 3%. Otherwise the Dunedin breakdown looks similar to the nationwide picture, with other investors picking up 36% of sales in Q4 and first home buyers accounting for 22% of sales. 
In Christchurch, first home buyers have found their way back into the market as value growth remains flat (-0.3% quarterly growth), picking up 23% of sales in Q4 2016, an increase from only 19% two and a half years ago. Investors still remain strong here however, buying 43% of properties sold in Q4.
In the Wellington region we get the first real point of difference as first home buyers go from strength to strength – to the point where 31% of sales in Q4 were to this group of buyers. Both investors (36%) and owner-occupiers moving house (20%) picked up a lesser share of sales between Q3 and Q4.
Investor presence in Tauranga remains very high, accounting for 46% of sales in Q4, with almost one in four of these investors based in Auckland. Owner-occupiers moving house also favour the Bay with roughly 30% of sales to these buyers and a third of these from Auckland. First home buyers are less prevalent here, accounting for only 16% of sales in Q4.
Hamilton has also been attractive to Auckland investors but their activity has reduced throughout the last 18 months – from 17% of sales in Q3 2015 to just 11% in Q4 2016. Other investors (36%) take total investor purchases to 47%, with first home buyers (22%) and owner-occupiers moving house (21%) having a similar share of the remainder of sales in Q4.
Back to the Super City, where investor purchases have plateaued at 43% as first home buyers (21%) still find a way into the market despite excessive prices. Owner-occupiers moving house have slightly reduced their activity in the market, accounting for 23% of sales in Q4 2016. 
One final point of note as we kick into the New Year is that the total value of all residential property in NZ hit quite the milestone last month – now totalling over 1 trillion dollars. You could argue it’s just a number, but it is a bloody big one! 
New Zealand Regional Maps:
The latest monthly QV House Price Index shows that nationwide residential property values for December increased 12.5% over the past year. Values rose by 1.3% over the past three months and are now 51.5% above the previous market peak of late 2007. When adjusted for inflation the nationwide annual increase drops slightly to 12.2% and values are now 28.5% above the 2007 peak. The average value nationwide is $627,905.
The Auckland market has increased 12.2% year on year which is the slowest rate since January 2015. Home values in the Super City rose by 1.5% over the past three months and are now 91.6% higher than the previous peak of 2007.  When adjusted for inflation values rose 11.9% over the past year and are 62.4% above the 2007 peak. The average value for the Auckland Region is $1,047,179.
QV National Spokesperson Andrea Rush said, “December saw a continuation of the trend of a slowing rate of value growth, activity and demand.  This trend has been seen in many of the main centres since the introduction of the LVRs, which require a minimum 40% deposit for investment properties.”
“This coupled with the annual Christmas holiday period slow-down has led to a decrease in values in some parts of Auckland, Hamilton and Christchurch since November.”
“However, in Wellington values continue to rise faster than in Auckland but at a slightly slower rate than prior to the LVRs being introduced.”
“While in Dunedin there has so far been no evident slowing in the housing market because of the new LVRs and value levels continue to increase and sales activity has remained strong throughout the Christmas period.”
“This is likely to be due to the fact the Dunedin housing market offers a much lower entry level and price point than the other main centres. Thus it’s easier for investors to find a 40% deposit to purchase there and investors have remained active there.” 
“A similar trend of plateauing/decreasing values was seen in the Auckland market over the summer period last year following the introduction of the (30%) LVRs for the Super City region only.”
“In 2016, the Auckland market then picked up in March, which usually the busiest month of the year, and it’s possible we may see this happen again.”
“However, if interest rates to continue to rise during 2017 this may further reduce demand from investors and lead to a longer period of lower value growth.”
“But any slow-down will be balanced by the fact the market is still being driven by strong net migration, relatively low interest rates and a lack of supply compared to the demand, particularly in Auckland.”
Home values across the Auckland region overall have decreased slightly over the last month dropping by 0.4% as the impact of the new LVR restrictions take effect on the market and between November and December there has been a decrease in values in parts of the North Shore, Waitakere, Manukau and also in the former Auckland City Council eastern and southern suburbs. Meanwhile the Rodney District has seen the strongest growth over the past year rising 14.0% year on year and 3.8% over the past three months.
QV Auckland General Manager, Jan O’Donoghue said, “Activity and demand in the Auckland residential property market has continued to slow during December as people appear to have decided to wait until after Christmas to enter the market.”
“This comes on top of the slowing in the market brought on by the introduction of the new LVR changes in the last quarter of the year which has led to price drops in some sectors of the market.”
“With interest rates set to rise further during 2017, it appears some investors are choosing not to buy more property as they have lower expectations of potential capital gains during 2017.”
“However, properties with sub-division potential (under the new Unitary Plan) are still selling well and achieving record prices.”
“This includes properties in areas that are close to up and coming town centres and have good transport links, in suburbs such as Mt Wellington and New Lynn.”
“Units that don’t have sub-division potential are less popular because there is low expectation of achieving capital gains.”
The rate of growth in Hamilton home values is considerably slower than it was earlier in the year with values rising 20.4% in the year since December 2015, but rising just 1.1% in the final quarter of the 2016. Over the past month there has been a decrease in values in suburbs in Hamilton North East, South West and South East. Values in the city are now 48.0% above the previous peak of 2007 and the average value is now $534,860.
QV General Manager, Richard Allen said, “During December the Hamilton City market became one of two different tiers with properties over $550,000 continuing to attract buyers, but properties under $550,000 proving much less popular.”
“This is because there are less buyers competing for properties at the lower end of the market, now that many investors have left the market following the new LVR rules being introduced.”
“However, this lower investor demand has allowed first home buyers to be more active in the under $550,000 band, and with most properties now passing in at auction and selling with a price or by negotiation, it is allowing buyers to make better decisions about what to offer.”
“We have also noticed an increase in the number of movers who are up-selling homes under $550,000, and buying more upmarket properties of up to around $700,000 with the capital gain they have made.”
“In the regional towns, investors are still actively looking for properties in places such as Huntly and Otorohanga where properties are less expensive and the 40% deposit requirement has less impact on purchasing ability.”
“Good prices continue to be achieved in Ngaruawahia.  Hauraki Plains’ towns such as Paeroa and Ngatea, are popular with Aucklanders due to lower prices and their proximity to Auckland, yet still offering entry level properties for under $300,000.”
The Tauranga market continues to rise, with home values in Tauranga City up by 24.0% year on year and 4.3% over the past three months. The average value in the city is now $672,197. Western Bay of Plenty home values rose 23.0% over the past year but decreased by 0.6% in the final quarter of the year. The average value in the district is now $571,520.
QV homevalue Tauranga, Registered Valuer, David Hume said, “We have seen a strong start to the year in the Tauranga housing market following on from good growth throughout 2016.”
“The announcement and immediate implementation of the new nationwide LVR restrictions in July saw a cooling off in the Tauranga market especially for investment properties toward the end of the year, although agents are reporting improved interest and sales volumes in recent months.”
“Western Bay of Plenty saw good growth in 2016 as it represented better ‘value for money’ in comparison to Tauranga however value growth is slowing there now due to fewer investors being active in the market.”
“Rents have continued to increase throughout 2016, with an average three bedroom house now renting for $100 more than it did two years ago.”
“The prestige market has shown good growth over the last six months with a number of sales in excess of $1.5 million, on the back of a strong stable economy and cashed up Auckland buyers looking for a lifestyle change.” 
“Building costs have escalated over the last two years with standard 180 square metre build costing around $1800 - $2,100 per square metre for an all- inclusive package and around $2400 - $2600 for two storey homes.”  
The QV House Price Index for the wider Wellington Region shows home values rose 20.5% year on year and 3.9% over the past three months and values are now 26.1% higher than in the previous peak of 2007. The average value across the wider region there is now $574,410. Wellington City’s western suburbs have seen the strongest growth over the past year with values rising 24.0% since December 2015 and 6.1% over the final quarter of the year.
QV homevalue Registered Valuer, David Cornford said, “The effect of the earthquake appears to have largely disappeared in the housing market but many vendors still haven’t had time to catch their breath with many planning to hold off listing their property until the New Year.”   
“Strong prices are still being achieved and property values continue to increase, albeit at a slightly lower rate.”
“The investor market has slowed marginally since the middle of the year with the introduction of LVR restrictions having had an impact on this segment of the market.”
“However, first home buyers remain very active and seem to be taking advantage now there are fewer investors in the market.”
“There has been the usual slowdown in the final weeks leading up to Christmas and the first few months of next year are likely to set the tone for the 2017 property market.”
Home values in Christchurch City increased 2.5% year on year but decreased 0.3% over the past three months and they are now 30.3% higher than the previous peak of 2007. The average value in the city has now dipped below $500,000 and is sitting at $494,247.  
“QV homevalue Christchurch, Registered Valuer Damian Kennedy said, “The residential property market in Christchurch is relatively quiet.”
“The traditional Christmas slow-down is underway as people wait until after the holidays to enter the market and this comes at a time when the new  LVR changes have reduced investor activity in the market.” 
“There was a boost to listings in November, but in December listings are down around 20% on what they were in December 2015.”
“Well-presented homes in the $500,000 price bracket remain popular as do entry level homes.”
“Some first home buyers who are buying properties with parental support are finding they are being affected by the LVR changes also, as the support they are receiving from parents is at times being classed as an investment.”
“A lot of people in Christchurch are under-insured and need to increase their level of insurance. However, there appears to have been little effect in terms of people addressing this even in light of recent earthquakes.”
Dunedin city home values have risen 14.6% year on year and 4.4% over the past three months. The average value in the city is now $354,133. 
QV homevalue Dunedin Registered Valuer, Duncan Jack said, “The LVR changes have had little effect on the Dunedin market and there has been no sign of the traditional Christmas period slow-down in the market here.”
“Value levels continue to steadily increase, sales activity levels also remain strong and properties selling quickly.”
“There is anecdotal evidence at the end of last year of multiple offer scenarios and high numbers at open homes continuing to be commonplace.”
Hawkes Bay
Napier home values continued to see strong growth rising 20.7% year on year and 5.5% over the past three months. The average value is $415,189. Hastings values rose 20.0% year on year and 5.4% over the past three months. The average value there is now $387,133.
QV homevalue Hawkes Bay, Registered Valuer Bevan Pickett said, “Investor activity dropped dramatically during December, with out-of-town investors appearing to have left the market.”
“The Christmas slow-down started in early December, however as yet the reduction in activity has not led to any drop in values but value growth does seem to be levelling off.”
“First home buyers are more active, with less investors around giving them less competition for entry level properties and leaving more properties for first home buyers to choose from.”
At the low end, interest in investment type properties seems to have dropped significantly, but there is still activity from first home buyers keeping that end of the market ticking over”.
“The mid-price bracket of between $300,000 and $400,000 is showing the most activity and the market is still going well at this point despite out of town investors no longer being active here.” 
“Sales are good and well-presented and well-priced properties are selling well. New properties in new sub-divisions are also selling well.”
“In the Hawkes Bay a new, 200 sqm home with a garage usually sells in the range of between $550,000 and 700,000. At the top end of the market values rarely exceed $1.3 million.”
Nelson home values are now increasing at a faster rate than Auckland up 16.6% year on year and 4.8% over the past three months. The average value in the city is now just shy of half a million dollars and is sitting at $499,866.  The Tasman District also increased by 14.4% over the past year and 5.0% over the past three months. The average value in the district is now also just shy of half a million dollars and is sitting at $499,082. 
QV homevalue Nelson Registered Valuer Craig Russell said, “Property values continue to rise in the Nelson/Tasman region given the low interest rate environment, strong regional economic performance and anecdotally strong migration to the region.”
“There is traditionally limited sales activity over the Christmas break and it will be interesting to see whether the property market has the same impetus it had through the latter stages of 2016.”
“Nelson listing numbers have increased over the previous three months while Tasman District listing numbers have remained relatively stable.”
“We appear to be entering the fear of missing out (FOMO) stage of the property cycle which combines the perception of always increasing property prices and idea that interest rates will remain relatively low.”
“House and land packages remain a popular option given there are incentives to build new and increase the housing supply. This has resulted in sections being relatively hard to come by and an increased wait time for the building process to commence.”
Other Provincial centres
In the North Island, the Kaipara District is one of the stand-out performers with values up 27.8% year on year and 8.0% over the last quarter of the year as buyers continue to look north of Auckland for more affordable property. The Hauraki District is also up by 30.0% year on year and 8.8% over the past three months, again due to movers and investors looking south of Auckland for more affordable property. The Kawerau District is now up 60.2% year on year and 17.0% over the last quarter of the year, as the average home value there jumped from $110,062 in December 2015 to $176,324 in December 2016. 
In the South Island, most areas have seen values continue to rise over the past year apart from in the Buller District on the West Coast where values decreased slightly by 1.9% since December 2015.
The strongest performers were Queenstown up 31.6% year on year and the MacKenzie District up 25.0% year on year.


The year in review

Tuesday, 10 January 2017

Just before Christmas CoreLogic Senior Research Analyst Nick Goodall took time to review ‘the year that was’ in the property market and consider what 2017 may hold.
It was a year that saw many factors influence the property market to varying degrees, and 2017 will also bear the flow on effects of both international (Brexit and Trump) and local (a new Prime Minister, RBNZ restrictions and earthquakes) influences.
We experienced record low interest rates, significantly constrained supply and record net migration consistently throughout the year.
We saw the average Auckland property value exceed $1m and centres in the top half of the North Island experience record rates of growth, with Hamilton peaking at 31.5% p/a in July and Tauranga at 28.5% p/a in August.
Wellington also jumped aboard the bandwagon with the annual growth rate peaking in September at 21.2%.
There remains a feeling of "surely this can’t go on forever?", but despite influencing factors such as migration, interest rates and construction turning around it is still looking strong for growth to continue throughout 2017.
Check out the video for Senior Research Analyst Nick Goodall's full break down.



Some highlights of the December 2016 - January 2017 report:

  • Nationwide residential property continues to increase in value and has now ticked over the 1 trillion dollar mark – a significant figure, especially when you consider the value of other asset classes (eg. NZ listed stocks $114b).
  • Net migration continues to increase as departures remain relatively flat and arrivals grow again. The effect of less Kiwis going to Australia and more coming back is still a significant contributor to overall net migration.
  • Nationwide value growth has slowed for the third month in a row, with quarterly growth now only 2%.
  • As value growth slows and rental growth remains relatively strong, nationwide gross rental yield has tapered off at just over 3%.
  • As expected, nationwide market activity has begun to tail off over the last four weeks as we head into the Christmas holidays. This should pick back up from mid-January.
  • Auckland investors have yet to be significantly impacted by the latest LVR restrictions, in terms of their share of sales, which has levelled off at 43%.
  • Values in Hamilton levelled off at $537k last month after 18 months of solid growth.
  • The strong growth experienced across Wellington over the past year is being maintained at around 21% annual growth, however there are signs of a gradual slowdown in the quarterly rate of growth (still strong at 5.5%).
  • First home buyers have continued to make their presence felt across the Wellington market: accounting for 29% of sales in 2016, well above the nationwide 20%.

To download the full report click here.


The Whanganui District Rating Revaluation for 2016 is now confirmed and property owners will soon receive a 2016 Notice of Rating Valuation with an updated rating value for their property.
The rating valuations for 21,400 properties are prepared on behalf of the Whanganui District Council by Quotable Value Ltd (QV).
Rating valuations are fit for purpose valuations carried out on all properties in New Zealand, usually once every three years to help local councils set rates for the following three year period. Rating values are just one of a number of factors councils use to allocate rates. 
The updated rating valuations should reflect the likely selling price of a property at the effective revaluation date, which is 1 September 2016, but does not include chattels. However, council rates will not be based on the new 2016 rating valuations until 1 July 2017.  
QV rating value Team Leader, Simon Willocks said, “The Whanganui District’s overall capital value has increased 6.0% to $6.8 billion since the last general revaluation in 2013.” 
“Residential property values have risen on average by 5.0% over the past three years. The market had been on a downward trend since the previous peak of 2007 right up until mid-2014 but since then values have been rising at a moderate pace, with the strongest growth occurring over the past year.”
“The location and condition of the dwelling has an influence the value movement, with well-presented properties generally seeing higher value growth than dwellings requiring significant maintenance.” 
“The values of lifestyle properties and well-located farms with versatile soils have remained relatively static over the past three years, compared with hill country and Manuka blocks which have seen significant value increases, as buyers have been competing for limited listings in this sector of the market.” 
“The commercial and industrial sector changes are property specific and reflect the market dynamics for location and quality of building.”
Whanganui Mayor Hamish McDouall says the increase of capital value on residential properties is a sign that the district is starting to prosper.
“News that capital values for residential properties in Whanganui have increased over the last three years will come as no surprise to those who have been watching growth in other areas of our district, such as in house sales, tourism and business. 
“After seven static years in the housing market, it’s very pleasing to see that we are seeing strong competition for residential property - this is a great sign for Whanganui.”   
It’s important to remember that while a rating valuation should reflect the likely price a property would sell for at the effective date of the rating revaluation, (in this case 1 September 2016) they are not designed to be used as a current market valuation of your property. Current market valuations require an individual inspection of a property and full written report by a Registered Valuer and can be provided to banks for use in raising finance or for other legal purposes. 
If your new rating value has changed that doesn’t necessarily mean that your rates will change, it depends on your council’s requirements and how rating values have changed over the rest of the area.
If all rating values change by the same amount, your percentage remains the same, and so do your rates, but this does depend on your council’s funding requirements.
Your new rating value will be posted to you after 12 December 2016. If you disagree with your rating value you have the right to object. The objection close-off date is 27 January 2017. You can object online at or call 0800 787 284 to request an objection form.