Like many countries, New Zealand is currently suffering from a housing crisis. While some of this is driven by the pandemic, increased immigration and a lack of supply have compounded the problem. As a result, many New Zealanders are looking at options outside of the ‘quarter acre dream’ to secure their first home. If you are considering buying a home in New Zealand, it pays to look at a range of options.
Before you buy your first property consider how long you want to live in your first home. If you are planning on starting a family or want a backyard for a pet, you might want to consider buying something larger than an apartment.
Consider how much maintenance you are prepared to do. If you have never been responsible for a house and garden, a townhouse could be a better option than a standalone home. Older homes generally require more maintenance and you’ll need to commit several hours per month to do your lawns and garden.
You should also consider how much money you are prepared to borrow. Banks are getting stricter with their lending rules. Buying an apartment or buying off the plans are generally cheaper than purchasing an existing home.
Don’t forget to look at all the hidden costs of a home. While some people view renting as throwing money away, it is sometimes the better financial option. Once you buy a house, you’ll have to pay for rates, maintenance, insurance, water fees if you are in Auckland, and any body corporate fees.
Apartment living is very popular in many population-dense cities around the world. New Zealanders are slowly catching on to the convenience of apartment living.
Buying an apartment is a great way to get on the property ladder, especially if you live in a major metropolitan city. While you might have to compromise on some aspects, you’ll also have a smaller mortgage. One thing to watch out for is corporate body fees. These can range from $2,000 to over $10,000 per year and cover the cost of outdoor upkeep and apartment maintenance.
Townhouses are becoming more popular in many New Zealand cities as developers can bring them to market faster than stand-alone homes. Townhouses make a great first home for people who don’t want a lot of outdoor maintenance, as many outdoor spaces are paved or require only a small amount of gardening or lawn.
Many newly built townhouses are usually on the city fringes, which means you can keep your transport costs down by biking or walking to town. Townhouses are a good option for people with pets or first-home buyers who may want to rent out a spare room to help them cover the mortgage.
Buying a townhouse off the plans is a great way to get onto the property ladder. Many developers only require a 10% deposit and you can usually lock in the price the day you sign your contract.
While you won’t be able to move into your home until it’s built, you will benefit from any increases in the value of your home. Most developers charge a fixed price which is locked in when you pay the deposit. In the meantime, you can continue to save money to pay down your mortgage once you’ve moved in.
Many developers are building in suburbs that are well connected to transport hubs and have access to local amenities. This can help reduce your transport costs if you’re worried about moving out of the central city.
There are lots of ways to go about building your own home. You can:
Consumer NZ has a lot of great advice for building a house for the first time.
New Zealand has many options to help first home buyers into a home, including:
The Kainga Ora First Home Grant of up to $10,000
The Kainga Ora First Home Partner ownership scheme
A Kainga Ora First Home Loan 5% deposit
Withdrawing your Kiwisaver
Buying your first home can be stressful, but moving in doesn’t need to be. Wise Move has a wide range of movers that take the stress out of move-in day.
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