New Zealand real estate now a buyers market due to oversupply of homes

Published:  9 Jun at 6 PM
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It’s a buyers' market in New Zealand for expats looking to put down roots as the number of homes for sale doubles over last year’s total.

Last month’s figures for the total number of homes on the market in Auckland were the highest since 2012, with almost 9,000 residential properties awaiting buyers. At the same time, the number of completed sales is falling, creating a buyers’ market for locals and expat incomers alike. The phenomenon isn’t confined to Auckland, with real estate agents in Canterbury, Wellington, Bay of Plenty and Waikato reporting similar conditions.

As the Southern Hemisphere winter approaches, traditionally a quiet time for property purchase, sellers wanting a fast result will be more receptive to offers lower than they’d expected, giving first-time buyers the chance to get a bargain. According to local real estate agents, Auckland’s glut of housing stock began during 2016 at around the same time as the market began to slow. The expanded choice of properties also means it’s less likely buyers will experience competition resulting in price hikes by sellers.

New Zealand has always been a popular destination for would-be expats from the UK, due mainly to its stunning natural beauty, laid-back lifestyle and ease of fitting into local communities. It’s a favourite for retirees, although a certain degree of comparative wealth is necessary in order to get a retirement visa. The 2010 introduction of the ‘temporary’ retirement visa for those with no family in the country opened up New Zealand to Britons over 56 years of age who could satisfy the financial requirements.

Qualifying investments totalling no less than £375,000 must be made, plus an amount of at least £250,000 for what’s referred to as ‘maintenance’. Also required is an annual pension and investment income of £30,000 or more. Given that the bar is set high, Britons with work-related pensions and a good profit from the sale of their UK home should be able to comply. ‘Temporary’ is something of a misnomer, as the visa can easily be renewed once the original two years are up, as long as the financial criteria continue to be met.
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