Getting Grounded Back Home in New Zealand

Haere Mai!

Welcome home to the 125,000 extra people who migrated to New Zealand in 2023. If you are one of the thousands of New Zealanders returning home without a plan other than reconnecting with the fam and getting back into their Kiwi lifestyle - we can help. So much has changed for many people whose first instinct is looking for a patch!

Naturally, we are feeling the pressure of our extra whanau on everything from jobs to housing to yes, even more people at your local cafe. Of course, we welcome everyone home with open arms. We feel so very fortunate to be living in this country, with so many opportunities and far from the madding world. Then it starts to become obvious: this thing called competition.

As we move into Winter, you may notice people on the open home circuit, more people at job interviews and definitely the numbers are up at property auctions. Even with rates up, the home buying trail is becoming hot again. Of course, the market cycle is continually moving - which is something you can learn to use to your advantage. Although home values did drop during the pandemic, we are back on the upward slant as of 2024 for most regions. 

Have you been making the rounds and you're not liking the selection of homes on the market? You'll soon learn to be decisive or risk missing out on the good ones. The question hangs in the air: when is a good time to buy? We certainly are experiencing an up-tick of the sheer number homes on the market recently. With rates holding steady now things are looking pretty positive. For most kiwis, our homes are our security blanket and number one investment. Hanging onto a property is in a very real way, hanging onto our way of life. 

We are somewhat  blessed and cursed at the same time. New Zealand is increasingly seen as a good place to live, and it's a heck of a place to put down roots again with so many people seeking security in an uncertain world economy, political challenges aside. Yes, things are less dramatic here in many ways. 

Fortunately, our government has implemented a number of strategies to keep create a balance between real needs and growing our economy. We are making immense investments in infrastructure including roads and new homes - which means many jobs being shifted to where the work is. The main school of thought from an investor's perspective is always to buy now, buy often - and keep buying! 

 “Buy when there's blood in the streets, even if the blood is your own.” 

Barron Rothschild, 18th English Nobleman and Banker

Rothschild should know. He made a fortune buying in the panic that followed the Battle of Waterloo against Napoleon. So while it's a great time to buy, is it also a great time to get financing? Yes, actually! Who could imagine sub 3% interest rates just a few years ago? Borrowing to purchase a property makes sense even if you have cash or investments you could liquidate. Why would you want to sell your investments for cash to buy property if their values are on the rise and earning over 6% - when the cost of borrowing is less than half that?*

You may be surprised to find getting a loan a bit of a challenge with our increased legislation. No more signing on the line for a loan extension overnight, even if you have banked for 20 years with the same institution. Everyone is getting the pat-down. Relax and let your broker make the paperwork go on its way to the assessor. Considering most brokers like me offer free advice - take it! Know also that the bank is predisposed to helping your broker get the job done and keeping everyone employed. We are all in this together, after all. 

If you have not borrowed money from a bank in a while, there are a few new hoops regarding your identity (AML), job security and intentions. Surprise: if you are over 45, you will be asked for an exit plan...just have one!  Selling your house to downsize at age 65 and enjoy the proceeds is clearly what many people will choose. Clear intentions helps make your case, regardless of your age.

In fact, market volatility can be your friend. Be calm and be the boss. Others may be less prepared or just nervous. You can be ready to jump when you see a great investment opportunity. With your loan application pre-approved and a clear plan on what you want to achieve - you are way ahead of the game. Naturally, you will perform all of your own due diligence on each prospective property with contingencies in place well before you sign on the dotted line. Build a great team with your mortgage adviser, building inspector and solicitor to put together your deal quickly and efficiently. 

It's easy to fall into the view of things going the wrong way, but we have all been in challenging times before and somehow we always get through them. My advice (after you have a great broker, solicitor and inspector team in place) is to relax. Practice meditation, take up running, spinning wool, baking, or whatever relaxes your mind to help keep your perspective. And by the way, I am offering an Advice First service for returning ex-pats who need a little grounding before and after you arrive.

What's my best advice? Be prepared, develop a positive mindset, take a deep breath on your way into the auction room, assume your position and command the bidding with confidence. 

You've got this! 


Schedule a free 20-minute chat over Zoom by clicking the email box at the top of the page.

© 2024 susan templeton / niche advice   *Follow the RBNZ for OCR rate changes and stay in touch with your financial adviser if you are in the market to buy.

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