The Expat Hub

Buying a property in New Zealand

New Zealand is an enticing place to consider moving to. Its climate is nicer than that found in the UK, the lifestyle is better, and it’s more similar to life back in Britain than anywhere else. If you are looking for a new start on the other side of the world, but one that isn’t totally alien then New Zealand is the place for you.

Most popular locations

Spread over two islands New Zealand is a similar size to that of the UK, except that there are far fewer people. Compared to the 70million found in the UK New Zealand is home to only 4 million people, so there is plenty of open space. The most popular locations to live on the North Island are the big cities of Auckland and the capital Wellington. On the South island Queenstown is a very popular location. There is plenty of open countryside for the more adventurous types but it is advised you research these areas fully before looking for a property.

Buying laws

If you are immigrating to New Zealand then there is a good chance that you will be seeking a permanent residence visa. Buying a property is relatively straightforward and is similar to the process found in the UK. Once you find a property to your liking, put in an offer in writing. The offer will be subject to checks on mortgage offers, surveys and checks. Once accepted you will have to pay a 10% deposit. When all aspects have been agreed upon then a contract will be signed between you and the seller. Once a contract has been signed the deal becomes legally binding, meaning neither party can pull out of the deal.

Cost of living

The expensive cost of living is one of the main reasons people choose to leave the UK for pastures new. In New Zealand you will get more for your money. If you spend the same amount on a house in New Zealand than you would in the South of England you can expect to get a far bigger property, maybe even a pool.

Research your chosen area

It goes without saying that the more information you have the better off you will be. Like in any country the housing market can vary. To get the best deal you should enlist the assistance of a New Zealand based estate agent or solicitor. Crime is not a huge issue in New Zealand but just like anywhere else certain places can be more risky than others. Never move anywhere without checking it out first.

Average house prices in October 2011

City: Avg. House Price Avg. House Price
Albany $620,000 £317,998
Birkenhead $535,000 £274,455
Eastern Suburbs $770,000 £395,087
Central City $350,000 £179,585
Mt. Eden $652,000 £334,541
Henderson $365,000 £187,281
Papatoetoe $330,000 £169,323
Central District $499,450 £256,217
Eastern Area $525,000 £269,325
Hutt Valley $345,000 £176,985
North Wellington $457,000 £234,441
Avonhead $378,000 £193,876
Fendalton $525,800 £269,682
Redcliffs $500,000 £256,350
Hallswell $357,500 £183,290
Somerfield $290,000 £148,712
North Island
Whangarei $286,250 £146,789
Hamilton $330,000 £169,224
Tauranga $354,000 £181,531
Napier $295,000 £151,276
New Plymouth $319,800 £163,993
Palmerstown $265,000 £135,918
South Island
Nelson $337,000 £172,847
Timaru $225,750 £115,809
Dunedin $249,250 £127,865
Invercargill $195,000 £100,035
Queenstown $510,000 £261,681


Before buying your property

Moving to the end of the Earth is a huge decision to make and a risky one. If things do go wrong chances are you will be more than a day’s flight away from friends and family. It pays to know the potential pitfalls before you embark on your move.

  1. Hire an Estate agent

The house market in New Zealand is different to that found in the UK. By hiring a professional you will save both time and money as you search for your dream home. Agents are more likely to spot bargains and suitable properties thank to their local knowledge. Agents are there to help you so ask for it. They will do their utmost to assist you, after all if you’re not happy with their service then it looks bad upon their business and they certainly don’t want that.

  1. Make sure your finances are in order

The worst thing that can happen is to run out of money, so don’t let it happen. Before you commit to the move ensure that you have your savings and cash in order. Make sure you have enough in reserve to last you several weeks upon your arrival. A move is a big deal and it often brings all sorts of hidden costs along with it, and it may take some time before you find a property.

  1. Use property auctions

Auctions are a popular way of selling property in New Zealand so it pays to know about how they work. Once again an estate agent is the person to seek advice from.  You should visit several auction houses whilst you are property searching, firstly go as an observer to get a feel for the system. An agent will help you when you decide to bid.

  1. Keep calm

If time is running out before your move and you haven’t found a place to live yet, then what have you been doing? In such a situation keep calm and don’t rush into buying property that doesn’t meet your needs. If you do find yourself in such a position it may be a good idea to rent a property when you arrive to give you time to look for a more permanent home.

  1. The things needed to complete a transaction

Buying a property in New Zealand is relatively easy. Once you have found your property you will have to obtain the following information; an independent valuation title search, a building inspection and a LIM report (local council report specifies any special features, etc).

Also be aware that most property buyers have to pay a 10%. This is to deter time wasters, so be sure before you commit to a purchase.