New Zealanders love the beach. 65% of kiwis live within 5 kilometres of the sea, and owning coastal fronting property is part of the kiwi dream. Beachfront property is highly sought after around the country, and house prices for seaside homes are often well above $1 million dollars.
Despite the high price tag, owning coastal property can come with its own set of problems. Before you take the plunge, consider how coastal erosion, rising sea levels, and extra money spent on maintenance, will affect you as a homeowner.
Sea levels are rising, and many areas of New Zealand will be affected. Even small amounts of sea-level rise can impact seaside suburbs and turn once-in-a-lifetime disasters into yearly floods. In New Zealand, large portions of our coastal land are sinking while other parts are rising.
If you are considering buying a home in a seaside suburb, make sure you pay attention to how sea-level rise will impact your future home. It’s not just global warming that can make suburbs sensitive to rising tides. Sediment, old landfills, and volcanic activity (which New Zealand has a lot of) can impact the land we build on and cause problems in years and decades to come.
Rising tides can damage driveways, flood your home, make you ineligible for insurance, and generally cost you a lot of money.
Like sea level rise, the erosion of cliff-top land can be devastating for homeowners and cost you hundreds of thousands of dollars in damages. In some areas of New Zealand, erosion washes away 2-5 metres of land every year, leading some homeowners with no choice but to demolish their homes.
Beachfront properties are still selling for millions of dollars around the country. However, that doesn’t mean your home will be easy to sell. Just make sure you know the implications that land erosion will have on the resale value of your home before you buy it.
Before buying a beach-side home, understand your local zoning laws. Research any future developments planned for your suburb. No one wants to pay for a million-dollar view only to have a neighbour obstruct that view with a new building. If it’s legal, unfortunately, there will be nothing you can do to stop neighbours from going ahead with their plans.
New Zealand is in the middle of a housing crisis. To help, new planning laws now allow kiwis to develop 50% of their land and build up to three stories high without council consent. Think about how any potential building in your neighbourhood could impact your home before buying.
Sea air, salt water, and strong winds will impact your home in ways that living in the countryside or city doesn’t. While it’s a given that you might experience more sand on your porch or have to sweep your floors more often, your home will also require a lot more maintenance over time.
Salt and sea water can cause the aluminium joinery on windows and doors to rust. Harsh sun can cause plastics to turn brittle and wood to bleach. Sea air also causes windows to become dirty quickly and rust outdoor furniture, cars, and boats.
There are some things you can do to help. Painted wood will also help protect your wooden outdoor furniture from rotting. Stainless steel is an excellent alternative to metals as it doesn’t rust. If you’re looking to upgrade your joinery, uPVC windows and doors last a lot longer than aluminium as they don’t rust, warp or get brittle. Keeping your cars and vehicles parked in the garage will also keep them protected from the elements.
Before buying near the sea, research what type of insurance you may need and whether your home will be eligible for coverage. Is there a risk of flood, tsunami, or king tides affecting your property? You may have to pay higher premiums to get the disaster coverage you need.
You should also have a thorough plan for keeping your family and pets safe in an emergency. Consider putting a plan together for evacuating your home quickly. Grab bags with a change of clothes, important documents, extra sets of keys, torches, snacks, and first-aid equipment is a good idea to keep on hand.
Many homeowners don’t consider what the soil is like at their new home before they buy. However, if you love gardening and enjoy growing flowers and vegetables, it’s worth considering whether you would be happy living somewhere with poor growing conditions.
Many seaside suburbs have very sandy soil, and you may have difficulty growing the same things you once further inland. If your new home isn’t conducive to growing the plants you like, you might have to spend money importing new soil, building planter boxes, and protecting your new soil from eroding back into the sand.
There can be many pros to buying a few streets away from the beach. Your home is better protected from rising tides, wind and rain, salt air and tourists parking on your property during the summer.
Before buying your home, take some time to get to know the neighbourhood, explore the beach access from your home, and any paths or walkways that might get you to the beach faster. Some streets or suburbs may give you easy access to the beach without having to buy right on it.
On the plus side, you’ll have less sand in your home and be even safer from the elements!
There’s a lot to consider before buying a beachside home in New Zealand. Finding your ideal home might be difficult but finding a mover you can trust is easy. Whether moving to a new city or suburb, Wise Move makes moving to the beach a total breeze.
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