Are You Homeward Bound?


Haere mai!

Welcome home to everyone on their way to New Zealand! A good compass can smooth your journey, so here are a few pointers. 

I was looking at photos of my arrival back home to New Zealand just a few years ago. I recall my excitement as I flew into Auckland, looking down at our beautiful blue isles with that pang of recognition and hope...of feeling that this is where I belong. You can feel that same sense of enthusiasm among the thousands of expats arriving daily, along with so many New Zealanders returning home for good. In fact, New Zealand  had over 126,000 in net migration in 2023 with many key industries still hiring. The trend is upward for good reason. New Zealand is ranked #4 in Best Countries to Live based on many factors, including lifestyle, safety, stable government, and opportunities for education and work.

The one area we fall down is housing. A shortage of housing has dogged us for the last decade as people just keep coming! Our public and private building regimes are working hard to catch up. If you are in the market to rent or buy a home - you may need to expand your budget and time factors by a significant amount. I'm happy to forward some resource links to help you get oriented. Just click the 'Let's calk' button on my Homepage or Expat page.

Where do you start? Packing? A serious Job search? Reconnecting with the fam? Often the Kiwi driving instinct is looking for a patch! You may be surprised to find that competition for good flats and our cost of living have heated up post-pandemic. Our housing shortage continues to be a challenge, even as more homes are being built every year. Certainly, the price and pace of home sales are different here than overseas. We simply do not have the housing stock of a larger country. You will quickly realize that you must be decisive or risk missing out on the better homes. Are you ready to commit to a longer-term new build for the right place? 

All these decisions of where to live, work and play may seem daunting if you've been away for a few years. Competition for entry-level homes is the most intense: numbers are definitely up at property auctions. For non-Kiwis coming here for the first time all this can be a bit overwhelming at first. For example, we don't typically have Buyer's Agents in New Zealand, so you will find the responsibility for negotiating your Purchase and Sales Agreement will rely more on a great property lawyer. They will help you perform all of your due diligence on a prospective property with contingencies in place well before you sign on the dotted line.

TIPS: 1. Assemble your team, including a mortgage adviser, property lawyer, home inspector, and accountant, to facilitate your search. 2. Upload local property search and valuation apps on your phone. 3. Then go for it! 

For returning Kiwis who have the basics of a friendly sofa covered, you may be ready to start your home search before you arrive. Even if you have previously owned a home in New Zealand, you will discover that the bar has raised and lending rules have changed significantly. Post-GFC, banking regulations around the world have tightened considerably. The old handshake and one-page application is a thing of the past. That's where I come in. Our encrypted online system can help smooth the process of getting a bank approval - even before you arrive.

The great news is that our economy is strong and unemployment is very low so the chances of getting a job quickly are excellent. Net migration of between 50,000-100,000 new immigrants to NZ is predicted this year. That number is already exceeding expectations, which creates a major swing variable in the economy. Translated: demand is high and getting higher - for everything. New expats may want to check in with your local Consular or Embassy office for reliable immigration services. Explore our Visa Checklist on Immigration New Zealand. They are currently fast-tracking some key industry categories, including health care to meet our growing population. Don't be surprised to see a few familiar faces on your flight! 

As the rest of the world seems to have discovered New Zealand, we continue to attract more people seeking security and our great lifestyle. In fact, predictions about how many climate refugees are headed to New Zealand in the coming decades are a little staggering. Fortunately, our government has implemented strategies to create a balance between long-term needs, urgent issues, growing our economy, and climate change. As most New Zealanders appreciate, working together as a country is exactly how we get things done. Even in an election year (2023)! 

If you're in the market for a property this year, don't wait for the hordes arriving with overseas cash in hand to make your move. Check out our Expats Advice First Page. If all this sounds a little complicated ...relax. I've been there...several times on several continents and I'm ready to help. 

Schedule a FREE 30-minute chat via zoom, whatsapp or phone to get things rolling. I'll forward relevant market data and contacts after we chat. 

Bon voyage! 


© 2024 susan templeton / niche mortgages

*Follow the RBNZ for OCR (Over the Counter Rate) changes, which are currently stable at 5.5%

Inflation and Unemployment are both 4.7% year over year as of 1 April 2024

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