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

Just before we ring in the new year, Pantone unveils the colour of the year to come, it sets the tone for more than just interiors - although that is what you’ll be reading about here - and lends it self to inspire a community of artists, and creatives to embrace and put their own spin on. Ultra Violet (which is the 2018 Pantone Colour of the Year by the way) may not be for everyone, but there are easy ways to reacquaint yourself with some of the most striking hues that may have felt a little to bold, or bright or unnecessary in your beautifully neutral home. If you feel adventurous, read on for your dose of new colour inspiration.

Entry Level: SAGE

The pale, crisp cousin of Mint Green, Sage is the colour of the season. Muted and neutral, it is the ultimate complement to the earthy tones in your home. Marrying perfectly with natural fibres, bamboo, and raffia but equally as impactful next to deeper blues, and cool grey tones. This colour is simultaneous inoffensive and classic but breaks away from the grey undertones and adds a point of difference without straying too far from your palette.

Mid Level: MUSTARD

With a warmth that is fresh and light, Mustard defies expectations and adds a depth of saturation. Drawing out the hues in neutral tones, and juxtaposed against a cool base. Mustard best lends itself to natural light and open spaces. Although confronting initially, the tone adds a crispness to your home that can otherwise be neglected. Sat against raw wood, rust and off-white undertones, mustard truly shines.

Expert Level: ULTRA-VIOLET

Described by Pantone as “a dramatically provocative and thoughtful shade”, this, not-for-the-faint-hearted hue has striking written all over it. Bold in its execution, and unashamedly bright. With an undertone of romance, it is best paired with cool greys and soft rose colours to amplify it’s brilliance. Use it to add a depth to your home and pair it with rose gold features, lighting, or hardware for an unparalleled finish.

If you still can’t bring yourself to let colour loose on your walls, the best trial is to begin introducing it into your accessories and linen. Opt for a Mustard throw instead of your usual Grey or test out Sage bath towels on your next trip to Sheridan. Slowly littering these into your home may just change your mind.

Just a Taste


Rosalie Molloy

Creative Director
www.notsavinglives.com

Posted: 20 February 2018

Show me someone who hasn’t dreamt of a NYC loft apartment, and I’ll show you a liar. Besides featuring in some of the most iconic pop culture shows over the years (‘How I Met Your Mother’, anyone?), this trend has risen to fame over the years. Although this dream is far reaching for anyone who doesn’t have a cool 2 million and the confidence to up and leave their life behind for this fantasy, there is nothing stopping you from bringing NYC horizons to your pad with a few simple elements. 

Incorporate elements of raw exposed brick where you can 

Nothing screams NYC more than a slice of exposed brick, whether you opt for an entire feature wall, or just a slither as your splash back. Adding this element to your home is a guaranteed way to achieve that warehouse loft feeling.

Okay, I hear you, maybe your interior walls aren’t double brick. Perhaps unbeknownst to you (before reading this article) there are a HUGE array of raw brick look-a-like wallpapers ready and waiting for you. Wallpaper gives you the flexibility to change it one day, when you’re over that ‘Friends’ phase you went though, or to just trial it on a smaller space before you go all guns blazing in your living room.

Invest in industrial accessories

The impact your styling and accessories have on your room is often underrated. Regardless of your colour scheme (you may have mint green walls - no judgement!) adding these simple styling elements can completely transform the feel of your space.

Industrial chairs or stools

Style up your dining space with gunmetal grey industrial stools, or chairs around a dining tables. If you’re savvy enough this is can be a small investment - I recommend signing up to Gumtree immediately - that will give your home, the edge you so desire. 

Lighting

Lighting is instrumental in creating a look and feel that warms the interior stylist within you, by opting for lighting elements with an industrial base (think cement) or matte black finishes and masculine shapes, you are adding building blocks to that NYC dream. 

If you’re at a loss, just go ahead and combine all of the above, spread them throughout your house so as not to alarm your partner when they get home, but test them out in different spaces. Your exposed brick feature might work best in a brighter room, and incorporate your lighting elements by your bedside table. The trick is to keep it cohesive and balanced across your humble abode.
 


Rosalie Molloy

Creative Director
www.notsavinglives.com

Posted: 20 February 2018

The latest monthly QV House Price Index shows nationwide residential property values for January increased 6.4% over the past year and values rose by 3.8% over the past three months. The nationwide average value is now $671,531. When adjusted for inflation, the nationwide annual increase drops slightly to 4.7%. 
 
Meanwhile, residential property value growth across the Auckland Region increased 0.7% in the year to January and 1.6% over the past three months, which is the highest rate of growth since November 2016. The average value for the Auckland Region is now $1,054,974. When adjusted for inflation, values dropped 0.9% over the past year.
 
QV General Manager David Nagel said, “January has seen values continue to rise in many places around New Zealand but values have dropped in others and in general activity has been slower in many places over the holiday season.”
 
“Values in Auckland are now rising with quarterly growth up 1.6%, which is a greater increase compared to the last quarter of 2017"
 
“The Wellington market continues to rise, however value growth has slowed in the Hutt Valley.”
 
“The Christchurch market remains flat while the Dunedin market continues to see a trend of steady value growth seen there throughout 2017.”
 
“Market activity across the nation appears to be picking up now that people have returned to work from the holiday season.
The easing of the LVR restrictions for both investors and home buyers this month, along with continued strong net migration, low interest rates, and a shortage of housing supply means it’s likely we can expect moderate value growth to continue during February and March which are annually the busiest months in the housing market.”
 
Auckland
 
The former Auckland City Council central suburbs saw values rise 1.7% in the year to January and 1.8% over the three months. Auckland City - East continues its steady growth, up 2.9% year on year and 2.7% over the past three months, the average value there is now $1,576,640. Finally, Auckland City - Islands maintained its strong growth, up 12.6% over the past year and 4.7% over the last three months. 
 
North Shore values also ticked up again rising 1.2% in year on year and 2.3% over the last quarter. Waitakere values also rose 0.5% over the past three months although values were down 1.6% in the year since January 2017.
 
Meanwhile, values continue to increase in both Rodney and Franklin. Papakura showed particularly strong growth again rising 2.4% year on year and 2.3% over the last quarter. Finally, Manukau continued the upward trend, up slightly 0.3% year on year and 1.2% over the last three months.
 
QV’s Auckland Property Consultant William Liew said “January, as is often the case, was relatively quiet due to the holiday period. The signs do suggest that the heat has been taken out of the market and buyers are showing less urgency”
 
“We have also seen the ongoing impacts of the LVR restrictions, changes of lending criteria and uncertainly with the change of government, which have contributed to a cooling in the Auckland market.”
 
Hamilton
 
Values in Hamilton increased slightly by 0.3% over the past three months but rose on average by 2.6% or $13,598 over the past year from an average of $531,337 in January 2017 to $544,935 in January 2018.
 
QV Property Consultant, Andrew Jaques said, “The market has started off reasonably slow, but this is typical of the time of year with many people returning from holiday and settling back in. We can confirm that listing numbers are down slightly with the majority of sales being completed through negotiation as opposed to auction which can slow down the sales process”
 
“At the same time, there is plenty of demand for rental properties due to the seasonal influx of students, particularly in the Hillcrest and Hamilton East suburbs near Waikato University. In response, we have seen an increase in the number of 3-4 bedroom townhouses being built in these suburbs, as the area becomes more attractive to investors looking to make solid returns from families and students”
 
Tauranga/Western Bay of Plenty 
 
Tauranga home values increased 3.9% year on year or $26,123 from an average value of $672,752 in January 2017 to $698,875 in January 2018. Meanwhile, property values in the Western Bay of Plenty have risen 7.3% in the year to January from an average value of $575,089 in January 2017 to $617,120 in January 2018. Values dropped 1.7% over the past three months.
 
QV Tauranga Property Consultant David Hume said, “Strong migration continues to drive growth although we have continued to see less activity from Auckland investors as their local market stabilised.”
 
“Western Bay of Plenty continues to see good growth over and above the Tauranga area, partly due to the strong recovery of the Kiwifruit industry in Te Puke over the past five years.”  
 
Hawkes Bay
 
Values continue to rise across the Hawkes Bay region. Napier values rose 15.4% year on year and 3.5% over the past three months. The average value in the city is now $483,759 and values are now 42.2% above the previous peak of 2007. The Hastings market also continues rise up 15.7% year on year and 3.9% over the past three months and the market is now 45.5% higher than 2007. The average value there is now $453,616.
 
QV Senior Consultant Philippa Pearse said “The Hawkes Bay market remains strong although we have seen a slight decrease in activity typical for this time of the year with fewer listings than December.  Buyers are active in the market and a shortage of listings particularly in the mid-to-lower price range which continues to support value increases.”
 
“We are seeing continued interest from out of town buyers moving to the region. There is also a shortage of quality rental properties resulting in rental growth. I would anticipate this will result in value growth throughout 2018."
 
Wellington
 
Values across the wider Wellington Region rose 9.0% or $52,489 over the past year from an average value of $582,322 in January 2017 to an average value of 634,811 in January 2018. Values across the region rose 4.0% over the past three months.
 
Wellington City increased by 8.9% year on year and 3.5% over the past three months. The average value there is now $764,560. Wellington – Central and South is up the most, increasing by 5.5% over the past three months alone and 9.3% in the year to January 2018.
 
Meanwhile values continue to rise strongly across Wellington’s regional centres. Upper Hutt is up 8.5% year on year and 1.1% over the past three months; while Lower Hutt rose 8.4% year on year and 0.6% over the past quarter. Further north, Porirua and the Kapiti Coast maintained their solid growth over the past year, up 13.4% and 12.9% respectively.
 
QV Wellington Senior Consultant, David Cornford said, “We have seen a typical slowdown in activity over the holiday period although activity has picked up with fresh listings and well-attended open homes since Wellington Anniversary Weekend.”
 
“A lack of housing supply, coupled with a recent increase in population, continues to put upwards pressure on values. This tight supply is creating strong demand for vacant land and new builds – particularly in the outer Wellington regions including Churton Park, Grenada and Aotea.”
 
“We’re also seeing strong competition in the 1-1.5 million dollar range for family homes, particularly if the property is well presented and situated in a popular suburb such as Karori or Khandallah.”
 
“Finally, from an investment point of view, yields have started to creep up. This is a result of both higher rents and investors demanding higher returns now that value growth has slowed.”
 
“I’d anticipate moderate value growth throughout 2018. The government is likely to further grow its workforce over the coming months, which should further increase demand and prices.”
 
“At the same time, investors are weary of the uncertainty around the Healthy Homes Bill. The prevalence of Wellington’s older villa housing, particularly in the city fringe suburbs such as Aro Valley, Kelburn and Mt Victoria, mean many investors may face high costs getting their property up to the required standards. I’d anticipate these increased costs to be passed onto the tenants in the form of higher rents.”
 
“The surge in rents we have seen over the last three months is likely to motivate renters to enter the housing market and I’m expecting to see a strong presence again from first home buyers over 2018, particularly if LVR restrictions are eased further.”
 
Nelson
 
Nelson residential property values continue to increase, rising 9.9% or $50,244 year on year from an average value of $508,343 in January 2017 to $558,587 in January 2018. Values rose 1.3% over the past three months.
 
Meanwhile, values in the Tasman District have also continued to rise, up 12.6% or $62,796 year on year from an average value of $498,111 in January 2017 to $560,907 in January 2018. They increased 2.6% over the last three months.
 
QV Nelson Property Consultant Craig Russell said, “The Nelson/Tasman property market has seen an increase in market optimism over recent weeks compared with a rather cautious approach over the latter stages of 2017. There is a continuation of strong demand for well-maintained properties, particularly those valued at up to $700, 000.”
 
“From an investment perspective, yields have decreased in recent years. This is due to the fact that home values have increased at a faster rate than rental levels. However, this is offset by an increase in rental levels over the summer period as demand exceeds supply – which is putting some upward pressure on rental yields.”
 
Christchurch 
 
Christchurch City values have dropped slightly, down 0.6% or $3,080 over the past year from an average value of $497, 539 in January 2017 to $494,459 in January 2018. However, values have increased slightly by 0.8% over the past quarter.
 
Meanwhile, growth remains relatively flat across Canterbury’s regions. The Waimakariri District is up 0.7% year on year although its value has remained unchanged over the past three months; while Selwyn values are down 0.1% year on year although they are up over the past three months.
  
QV Christchurch Senior Consultant, Daryl Taggart said, “It’s very much a continuation of last year’s theme in the Christchurch market. A high supply of housing stock and a lack of demand are driving low value growth.”
 
“In saying this, we are seeing that those properties, which have managed to generate a good deal of prospective buyer interest have sold very well. There are also some positive developments and projects being completed in the city, which is encouraging.” 
 
Dunedin
 
It’s very much a continuation of last year, as Dunedin City continues its market growth. Values rose 9.3% over the past year from an average value of $359,055 in January 2017 to an average value of $392,512 in January 2018. Values also increased 2.6% over the past three months. 
 
QV Dunedin Property Consultant, Aidan Young said, “The market has continued its positive growth, with impressive turnouts at open homes and relatively high sales prices. The First Home Buyer market remains buoyant, due to a comparatively low entry level price point. We’re also seeing plenty of sales activity at the upper end – around the one million dollar mark – which again reflects a good level of confidence in higher priced homes.”
 
“There is currently significant demand for vacant land, so we’re continuing to see competitive prices for sections across the city. These prevailing market conditions are also causing rental prices to increase, which may be attributed to potential buyers being required to stay in rental properties longer until they can find/afford to enter the market.”
 
“Given the current trends and activity in the market, I am not anticipating major changes to recent trends throughout this year. I’d anticipate market activity to pick up as we emerge out of the holiday period and buyers settle into last year’s change of government and the banks' easing their lending criteria."
 
Other Provincial centres
 
The growth in values across many smaller provincial centres in the North Island continues. Over the past three months, there were notable value increases in Whanganui, South Waikato, Waitomo, Opotiki, Rangitikei and Carterton among others. Meanwhile, it’s been a strong year of growth north of Auckland, with Whangarei and Kaipara both experiencing annual increases of value of 10% and 9.2% respectively.
 
In the South Island, regional centres including Grey, Waitaki, Clutha and Southland have experiencing notable value increases over the past quarter. Most notably, Mackenzie continues its significant growth up 10.3% over the past three months and 27.1% since January 2017. Finally, growth in Queenstown Lakes has dropped slightly to 2.2% over the last three months although growth remains very strong over the past year.
 
You can access the latest QV House Price Index here.
 

Once again I was a little surprised when I saw the QV House Price Index charts this month. Most lines continued on an upward trajectory in January, despite typically low volumes of sales over the Christmas/New Year period. Full stats available here.



Not that I was expecting a drop in values but the lift in places like Auckland (1.6% last three months) and Tauranga (1.7% last three months), did make me sit up and take notice – because in those areas it had previously looked like we were set for a further plateau.

One explanation is that a slowing market, with reduced demand and increase in the time taken for properties to sell (or let’s face it - to not sell at all) the few properties that do sell are probably the good ones. And even in a slowing market, quality properties can still fetch a premium, especially when you factor in stubborn vendors who are still conditioned by the recent market strength. We’ve also got a situation where buyers are still benefitting from low interest rates - which enable significant mortgages. Notwithstanding however the general tightening of credit, which will restrict the number of people able to get a mortgage in the first place.

So this recent bounce-back plus a question on twitter had me pondering whether there were certain parts of the market behaving differently to another.

The easiest way to do this is to allocate each property in NZ into a decile (one of ten groups) based on their capital value (CV). We can then see if the slowdown that occurred throughout 2017 was more pronounced at the top (three deciles), middle (four deciles) or bottom (three deciles).

In 2017 there were roughly 90,000 residential sales (including lifestyle). Interestingly in 2016 there were 114,000 sales and in 2015 there were 115,000 - illustrating the magnitude of the slowdown last year (-20%).

Breaking that data down further to a city level - we can see that in Auckland the slowdown was even more pronounced, down 27% year-on-year (31,500 sales in 2016 to 22,800 sales in 2017).

Before we get into the nitty gritty, there was one very stark trend I noticed in Auckland’s data: far more properties with a lower value were sold in January than higher value properties. Perhaps those people who buy the expensive places take longer holidays at the bach and aren’t in the market in January!

When I looked further into the data, whilst properties at the upper end of the market actually fared better than the rest in 2017 (with only a 23% drop in the number of properties from the top-end selling, compared to a 31% drop at the bottom-end), these more expensive properties were selling in the early part of the year, with things levelling out towards the end of the year. So the strength at the top-end of the Auckland property market seen in 2017 has likely already finished.

In Tauranga (the other area showing a surprising recent lift in values) it’s quite the opposite, with the upper end of the market struggling throughout most of 2017 (sales volumes in 2017 were 36% down on 2016 volumes). It’s Tauranga’s “middle of the market” that did doing ok in 2017, with volumes down only 16% from the prior year.

A quick round up of things in our other main centres and it’s a bit of a mixed bag:


Change in sales volumes between 2016-2017, by grouped value deciles
 

Main Centres Upper Value Properties Middle Value Properties Lower Value Properties
Hamilton -29% -22% -30%
Wellington -25% -18% -18%
Christchurch -22% -22% -10%
Dunedin -20% -24% -14%


What’s next then? Well, typically value change follows volume change. Fewer sales due to reduced demand means less price pressure, so if the ‘rules’ were being followed, we would be expecting values to drop in 2018. But NZ’s property market faces a challenge with those low interest rates which mean active buyers can still actually meet vendor expectations.

Interest rates are likely to remain low throughout 2018, off the back of the OCR which remained on hold at 1.75% this week and is unlikely to change much this year. So, how long this unique situation continues is anyone’s guess. Either way I would expect the recent lift in Auckland and Tauranga values to be relatively temporary as the market adjusts to fewer available buyers and vendors start accepting lower offers or don’t bother selling at all.

I’m always keen to hear your thoughts on the market so hit me up on twitter with any questions or comments - @NickGoodall_CL

New Zealand Regional Maps:

 

Data for a landmark new survey to understand how property sellers feel about real estate agents is currently being collected by CoreLogic.
 
The survey into Kiwi agents will seek to understand the experiences of consumers when selling their property and how well (or poorly) agents are meeting customer expectations.
 
It follows from research CoreLogic conducted about the Australian market which discovered that while real estate agents suffer generally from a poor public reputation, 66% of the vendors surveyed rated the overall experience of selling their home positively with 31% claiming it was Excellent and 35% rating it as Good. The survey shows 68% of respondents would recommend their agent to friends or family. 
 
Kylie Davis, the Head of Content at CoreLogic, said the survey was expected to identify some of the challenges real estate agents are facing in a market landscape that is being affected by technology and an expectation of instant help.  
 
“But what I am really looking forward to understanding is what differentiates the really great agents for sellers from the average agents,” Ms Davis said. “By capturing those insights, we’ll be able to identify the skills that agents need to really excel, and the industry can start to deliver more targeted training that encourages adoption of those behaviours.”
 
The Australian research identified that vendors wanted agents to improve their professionalism by providing better feedback throughout the sales process, being accountable and demonstrating how they arrive at the sale price, be friendly and approachable and provide vendors with advice and feedback on how to best sell their home.
 
“It will be interesting to see what the expectations of Kiwi sellers are and how they compare,” Ms Davis said.
 
Real estate agents are welcome to share the survey with their vendors.