Kiwibuild vs Property Market - Price Caps Explained


This article by Kelvin Davidson from CoreLogic looks at the prices paid by First Home Buyers (FHB’s) in the property market and compares them with those paid by FHB’s for a Kiwibuild home.

Buying a new 2 or 3 bedroom home for significantly less than they would pay for a similar (and older) home in the open market and with the confidence that there is nothing to do to it, (always costly), cannot help but be attractive to FHB’s.

The price cap is different in various parts of the country and is worth looking at for first home buyers who are thinking of re-locating from Auckland.

The Latest Harcourts Market Watch

National Overview

14 September 2018 – The latest national residential property figures from Harcourts NZ tells a mostly positive story across most of New Zealand for August 2018. 

The average national house price in August improved on last year’s August 2017 figure of $557,547 by 2.4% to now sit at $570,921.

The average house price in Auckland was $857,184 in August 2018, a decrease of 8.87% when compared to the same period last year.

What’s also been evident is the increase of new auctions in the city. Up 5.16% on last year, this continues to be a strong contender in the chosen method of sale for Harcourts vendors.

Wellington which includes Taranaki and Hawkes Bay, average house price has continued to rise and since last year has increased from $422,234 in August 2017 to $485,016 in August 2018. The city’s written sales have also seen a 8.08% upturn on 12 months ago.

Christchurch city is displaying strong results in most areas from this time last year, the average sale price has seen an increase of 0.63% from $524,195 in August 2017 to $527,483 in August 2018.

Central Region, taking in Bay of Plenty and Waikato, saw written sales activity with an 8.59% increase on August 2017. The average sale price increased by 1.48% to reflect a rise from $471,623 to $478,592.

In provincial South Island the average house price has increased by 3.27% on the same period in 2017 with the August 2018 average sitting at $381,348. There has been an impressive 26.9% increase of listings year on year. It will be an interesting area to watch in the coming Spring months.

Harcourts NZ CEO Chris Kennedy says “it is also undeniable that there has been a general slowing in the housing market across New Zealand, and particularly in Auckland. I think we are going to see an upturn shortly as buyers return to the market – due to the lower points that the market has reached in the past few months and with spring heralding a trend of people listing after a wait for the weather to improve”.

In results released in August 2018, it is reported that annual net migration in the July 2018 year was 63,800 for New Zealand. With construction of new houses not coming close to keeping up with demand, there will continue to be demand from this source, and in particular in Auckland.

Chris Kennedy
Chief Executive Officer
Harcourts New Zealand


For more local insights or for a property appraisal don’t hesitate to get in touch!

First Home Buyers Are Moving Out


Thinking of buying your first home? Then check out the latest changes in Residential House prices nationwide - many of Auckland's rural areas have either held steady or dropped slightly in the latest QV stats. e.g. Rodney North -1.2% YoY (Year on Year), Franklin -0.5% YoY, and Manukau East -1% YoY. For more detail, click here:

Rural areas not only provide a somewhat higher quality of lifestyle but also there is generally plenty of rurally aligned employment. Coupled with cheaper house prices why wouldn’t you seriously consider making the move?

Read more about the increased First Home Buyer activity in rural and tourist areas in this article from CoreLogic:

And, with access to Harcourt's extensive portfolio of listings, I can help buyers looking to make a move to rural locations - don't hesitate to get in touch if you think life outside the big smoke might be for you.

The lastest Auckland Sales Figures:

The latest national residential property figures from Harcourts NZ show a stable market across the country with some minor variances on last the same period last year.

The average national house price in April increased by 6.8% from $584,559 to $624,172, which is an encouraging sign for those wishing to sell up in Autumn.

Auckland prices have continued to rise and with averages having tipped $1,065,739 in April 2018 and total listings up by an incredible 28.5% on this period last year, Auckland remains a buoyant market to buy and sell property in.

Central Region, taking in Bay of Plenty and Waikato, and Wellington, which includes Taranaki and Hawkes Bay, saw positive increases across the board. Total listings increased by 31.2% on last year and new auctions saw a 20.5% uplift. This is a good sign that more people are putting their trust in good sales agents to get their property sold. The average sales price in this area continues to rise and now sits at $520,111, which is 11.3% up on last year’s April figure of $467,468.

Wellington’s average house price has continued to rise and since last year has increased from $441,354 to $503,844. This 14.2% increase will be of no surprise to anyone watching over this market.

Christchurch city has seen a slight decrease in it’s average sale price from $549,284 to $517,034 which will be good news for those first-time buyers who are so keen to climb onto the property ladder in our garden city. 

The provincial South Island also saw an average price increase, year on year, of 15.4% to now sit at $469,789.

Harcourts NZ CEO Chris Kennedy says it is great to see steady activity and price increases in the regions.

“Taking the focus away from Auckland and Christchurch allows us to reflect on how well areas of New Zealand such as the central region and Wellington are actually going. With sales and sales prices on the up, people can take comfort that they are buying and selling in a healthy market.

There are some excellent properties being listed and we’re here to ensure that everyone we work with will get the best outcome.”

Chris Kennedy
Chief Executive Officer
Harcourts New Zealand

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The Meth Debate

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Methamphetamine contamination has been an emotional topic for a long time among landlords as well as purchasers and vendors. New scientific information has shown no danger to those living in dwellings where meth has been used, not one case of harm has been found anywhere in any of the data available to the scientific community. A great result of this is that 200+ Housing New Zealand rental properties will now be able to be put back into the pool of rental property which is very much needed at present and landlords and vendors can potentially save thousands of dollars in unnecessary cleaning.

Smoke alarms have also been a hot topic recently and this article is very clear that photoelectric alarms are essential in rental properties, not a bad idea also in private residential properties, as they are recommended by the New Zealand Fire Service. So with Winter upon us it’s a good time to check your fire alarms and upgrade to the photoelectric option. Better to be safe than sorry!

The latest news about Meth...

In light of the recent report from the office of Professor Sir Peter Gluckman, the Prime Minister’s Chief Science Advisor, regarding Methamphetamine contamination in residential properties, property owners and purchasers can take some comfort that there is no evidence that third hand exposure will have an adverse health effects.

Currently there has been no change to our guidelines and, as real Estate Salespeople,  we must still advise vendors and purchasers about Meth testing as the law has not yet been changed.


Harcourts Blue Fern - Pink Ribbon High Tea

We will be hosting a Pink Ribbon High Tea at a cost of $30 per person on Saturday 2nd June 2018 at 3pm at Kings Plant Barn, Universal Drive Henderson.


If you are interested in joining us and contributing towards raising funds to help the Breast Cancer Foundation to continue their amazing work with breast cancer patients, both male and female, please let me know as soon as possible.

Buying and selling Real Estate is still not well understood


The Real Estate Authority just released an article which discusses the results of a Nielsen survey showing significant lack of understanding of the process of selling and buying real estate in the market.

As a Real Estate Salesperson this concerns me as a very important part of our job is to explain the process fully and allow buyers and sellers to take independent legal advice and have all documentation checked by their solicitor before signing.

I take this very seriously as the purchase of a property is, for many people, the biggest purchase they will ever make and must be entered into with all the information about the property and the process available to them.

Read the full article here:

And if you want to talk about the process, what's involved and when to involve your solicitor, give me a call or send an email for a no obligation conversation.



The Latest Harcourts Market Watch - April 2018

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National Overview - March 2018

The latest national residential property figures from Harcourts NZ shows a stable, and settled market continuing into March.

The average national house price in March held steady at $616,721, on a par with the same period last year.

Central Region, taking in Bay of Plenty and Waikato, and Wellington, which includes Taranaki and Hawkes Bay, both saw good activity in the market last month, reflected in an increase in the average price for both areas.

Wellington’s average house price was $536,430 in March, up a healthy 8% compared to the same period last year.

The average price in the Central Region rose 10% to $516,355 last month compared to March 2017. The provincial South Island also saw an average price increase, year on year, of 8% to sit at $431,948. Harcourts NZ CEO Chris Kennedy says it is great to see steady activity and price increases in the regions. “There is always such a lot of focus on Auckland and Christchurch, which were indeed a little quieter than last year in March, but when you look at the country as a whole, there is still plenty of activity from both buyers and sellers.

“There are good prices to be had for vendors, who work with skilled, knowledgeable and experienced sales consultants, in all markets around the country.”

Chris Kennedy
Chief Executive Officer
Harcourts New Zealand

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The latest in Property Law news

I thought I'd share some of the great information sent out today by Cavell Leitch .

When it comes to property law, your agent should be well informed and be able to indicate what applies to your situation and what doesn't. However, before you sign anything you should always get the advice of your lawyer.

Read below for more about the Brightline Test, selling a Unit Title and the Letting Fees ban.

Five years in, two years out - Brightline Test extension now applies

Written by Lana McCarroll - Legal Executive (Property)

Further to our article in February 2018 , the Taxation (Annual Rates for 2017-18, Employment and Investment Income, and Remedial Matters) Act received royal assent on 29 March 2018. The Act extends the bright-line test from 2 to 5 years.

Who does this legislation apply to?

This legislation applies to ALL vendors who sell their residential property within 5 years (irrelevant of the intention at the time of purchase).   For sale and purchase agreements signed after 29 March 2018, this will mean that if a vendor sells within 5 years of owning a residential property, and the property is not their main home, then they will be taxed on any gain made on the sale. 

For those sale agreements that are already in place, i.e. signed before 29 March 2018, but settlement is yet to occur, then the previous timeframe applies (i.e. a vendor sells within 2 years of owning a residential property (that is not their main home) then they will be taxed on any gain made on the sale).

Another note to remember is like under the current timeframe, any vendor selling may only use the main home exemption twice within the 5 year period.

What does this mean for you?

The main questions you should be asking your vendor clients straight away should be:

·         How long have you owned the property for?

·         Is this your main home?

·         If taxation is a concern, have you sought advice from your accountant and/or legal advisor?

Once these matters are established, you can alert your vendor about the risk of capital gains tax.  During the course of the sale transaction, we will also discuss potential taxation with vendors, but it would be hugely beneficial to our clients if you made them aware of the new legislation and requirements that will be needed.  We see this as especially important for you as the date of disposal is the date of the agreement for sale and purchase between the vendor and the purchaser, not the date the property is transferred.  Once the agreement is signed within the 5-year time frame, your vendor could be up for a tax they maybe weren’t expecting.

We suggest if your vendor clients are concerned by potential tax implications of a sale, they take accounting and/or legal advice prior to entry into any agreement for sale and purchase.  Even where it is not a consideration for a client it is something you should bring to their attention to avoid potential nasty surprises from the Inland Revenue.


Disclosure statements when selling a unit title property

Written by Rebecca Clark - Solicitor (Property)

We often field queries from both clients and agents alike when we are dealing with the sale or purchase of a unit title. The most common question which arises is “why do we need to provide a disclosure statement? Don’t the purchasers already have all of this information?” 

We thought it might be useful to recap how disclosure statements work in a unit title transaction. Essentially there are 3 different statements which must be provided at 3 different stages of a sale and purchase transaction.

Pre-contract Disclosure Statements

The first disclosure statement is called a pre-contract disclosure statement. As the name suggests the pre-contract disclosure statement must be provided to a purchaser before any contract is entered into, or the purchaser may be entitled to cancel the agreement.

The pre-contract disclosure statement needs to contain the information prescribed by section 146 of the Unit Titles Act 2010 (UTA) and section 33 of the Unit Title Regulations 2011 (UTR). The pre-contract disclosure statement must include at least the following:

·         The amount of the annual levy which has been set by the body corporate and the period covered by this levy;

·         Details of any maintenance plan proposed by the body corporate in the next year and how the body contribution proposes to meet this cost (i.e. if any additional contributions will be required by unit owners); 

·         The balance of the bank accounts held or operated by the body corporate;

·         Whether the unit or the common property has or is subject to any claim under the Weathertight Homes Resolution Services Act 2006 or other civil proceedings regarding water penetration; and 

·         An explanation of how unit title ownership works, including information on unit plans, ownership interests, body corporate rules, the title and any easements or covenants affecting the property. 

To protect your vendors it is important you are aware of this when the property goes onto the market, so they have adequate time to obtain this information from the body corporate.
Likewise, if you are acting for a potential purchaser you will need to make sure they are provided this information before they enter the agreement. Please note that even when there is no formal body corporate in place, if the property is a unit title the purchaser will still need to be provided with this information.

Additional disclosure statement

The pre-contract disclosure statement also needs to provide an estimate of the cost of providing further information if the purchaser requests it. The further information will then be provided in a second “additional disclosure statement”.

The additional disclosure statement contains useful information including details of the body corporate’s long-term maintenance plan, details of previous body corporate meetings, details of any contracts or expenses the body corporate has committed to.

Pre-settlement Disclosure Statements

Once an agreement has been signed the vendor is required to supply the purchaser with a pre-settlement disclosure statement at least five working days before settlement. The purpose of this statement is that the body corporate is certifying all the information provided about the property remains correct. Section 34 of the UTR outlines what is required in this form, including:

·         Information about the body corporate such as unit number, body corporate number;

·         Amount of contribution levied, the period covered by the contribution, the due date for the levy;

·         If any of these levies are unpaid and if so how much;

·         If any legal proceedings have been instituted in relation to any unpaid levies;

·         If any repair costs are outstanding;

·         Whether there are any proceedings against the body corporate; and

·         If any changes have been made to the body corporate operational rules since the pre-contract disclosure statement or any additional statements.

The vendor is also required to provide the insurance information for the body corporate with this statement. It is vital that the purchaser is provided with the pre-settlement disclosure statement at least 5 working days before the settlement date. If the pre-settlement disclosure statement isn’t provided on time the purchaser can elect to delay settlement or even cancel the agreement.

If you have any questions about unit titles, please give one our property experts a call.


Letting Fees Ban

Written by Patrick Wynne - Law Clerk (Property)

In late March 2018 the Residential Tenancies (Prohibiting Letting Fees) Amendment Bill was introduced by Housing Minister Phil Twyford, and the bill has since passed its first reading. As the name suggests, the bill proposes a ban on landlords or property managers charging letting fees to tenants.

A letting fee has historically covered the array of services provided by a property manager in obtaining new tenants. This may include conducting open homes, verifying potential tenants and preparing the necessary tenancy documents. A standard letting fee usually equates to one week’s rent plus GST per tenancy.

To date reaction to the proposed letting fee ban has been mixed. One school of thought suggests that the ban will reduce the up-front costs payable by tenants, while it is also recognised that property managers perform a valuable service.

A concern held by some commentators is that the cost will simply be passed onto tenants in the form of increased rental. The New Zealand Property Investors Federation has further expressed concern that the ban may lead to a reduction in the number of tenancies on the market at a time where supply is already low in some areas.  

A select committee has been appointed to review the proposed ban, and the committee has asked for submissions from the public before 23 May 2018. Interested parties can make a submission on the bill here.

February National Market Report

Harcourts National Market Report - February 2018

The latest national residential property figures from Harcourts NZ shows a settled market continuing into February.

The average national house price in February was up by 8% to $584,729, when compared to the same period last year, driven in part by strong activity in the Central Region.

The average price in the Central Region, which takes in Bay of Plenty and Waikato, rose 24% to $529,111 last month compared to February 2017. The provincial South Island also saw an average price increase, year on year, of 14% to sit at $461,315.

Wellington Region (which includes Taranaki, Manawatu and Hawkes Bay) also had a good February with sales up 6.4% and the average price is 4% to $449,020.

By contrast it was a quieter month in both Christchurch and Auckland with average prices down slightly in both cities.


Harcourts NZ CEO Chris Kennedy says when you look at the country as whole, the market is looking very healthy with plenty of activity from both buyers and sellers.

“The fact that both Christchurch and Auckland had quieter months really reflects a market that is returning to a more settled normal, after the extremes and volatility of the past couple of years.”.

The drop in auction business will also be impacting the overall figures for February, Kennedy says.

“For some reason many clients don’t trust auctions in a quieter market. I don’t agree, but aside from that, it’s also important to remember that other methods such as sale by negotiation often take longer.

“Sales are still happening they’re just taking longer than the three weeks of a typical auction campaign. So I would expect to see that reflected in the figure for coming months,” he says..


“To make the most of the market conditions I’d advise sellers to make sure they are working closely with their sales consultant to create the best possible marketing campaign to connect them with the right buyers, for the best result.

“When the market is quieter a good sales consultant can really prove their worth.”.

The Five Essential Marketing Tools


The decision to sell is made, but how do you ensure potential buyers know your house could be their dream home? Here are five top marketing tools to help you get the best possible result for your sale.

Online presence

More than 80% of Kiwis look online to find properties for sale*, so it’s essential your property has a presence on the worldwide web. Consider putting it on multiple sites to make sure you get the most exposure, and include plenty of details so potential buyers can put serious thought in. Your real estate agent can run through the sites that will give the best bang for your buck and advise on how best to describe your property.

Great images

Make sure your home looks as pretty as a picture to attract the maximum number of buyers to come and view it in person. The first encounter many will have with your property is by viewing photographs online, in real estate magazines or agency windows, or in the property section of the local paper, so it is crucial they make a good first impression. It is worth paying for a professional photographer who can ensure images are taken from the right angle, get the lighting right and show your home at its very best, as those pictures (and video, if you want to go a step further) may just prompt a future buyer to fall in love.

Street signage

A “for sale” sign outside your home may feel a little old-fashioned in our virtual world, but it’s important to catch the attention of those who may not actively be looking for a new property, or those who always have an eye on your street or neighbourhood for the dream home. People hunting for property use up to four extra resources on top of online research, including sale signage, magazines and brochures, and agency window displays, so the more places you shout “for sale” the better.

Open homes

The actual look and feel of a property is something that can’t be construed through photos alone, so holding open homes and private viewings is key to marketing your property. Giving prospective buyers the chance to walk through your home, imagine themselves in it, and get a feel for the surrounding neighbourhood will ensure you have some serious buyers in the mix when it comes time to sell.

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A great agent

Word of mouth and personal recommendations count for a lot when it comes to making a major purchase such as a new home. A committed and enthusiastic real estate agent will be able to tell people about your property, put the word out to other agents who might have interested buyers, and follow up with potential buyers about their intentions. An approach like this will make sure you have reached as many people as possible, and make you feel secure that, in turn, you get the best price possible.

* Nielsen NZ September 2016 Survey

If you'd like a no obligation appraisal on your home, call Sheree today, or fill in the form and Sheree will get in touch with you to discuss your needs.

Divorce or separation and the family home


The end of any relationship is certainly an emotional and traumatic time. When there is also a home involved, it's really important to get good advice around selling or keeping the property.

When it comes to dividing joint assets such as the family home you generally have a couple of options:

  1. Sell the home, and split the proceeds, minus any mortgage costs.
  2. One of you continues to live in the property and buys the other out.

When deciding between the above options it is important to know what you can actually afford. Mortgage repayments and expenses are obviously quite different on one income versus two, but with good advice, an already difficult time can be made just that bit easier. 

You can read more about the options around separating your assets by clicking below:

If you need to find out the approximate value of your property, please feel free to get in touch.

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A Non-Bank Lender?

For most home buyers securing a loan, from a traditional lender such as a bank is a logical first step. However for those that have a low deposit, are self-employed or maybe have a less than ideal credit history, this can become more of a challenge. Looking outside of banks, at a Non-Bank lender such as a credit union or a building society to provide mortgage funds may be an option for those who are unable to borrow from the banking sector.

When would you use a a Non-Bank Lender?

For home buyers with a low deposit or bad credit history, a Non-Bank lender can be a stop gap for borrowers. In some cases a slightly higher interest rate may be charged, but non-bank lenders have more flexibility and are able to offer a better fit for individual situations. They are also not affected by LVR restrictions so could offer a solution for first home buyers with lower deposits. More and more home buyers are looking into different options for lending, particularly if the bank could say no.  So it's worthwhile talking to a mortgage advisor or you can also click on the button below to read more on non-bank lending.

The Importance of Pre-Approval

It can be very beneficial to secure pre-approval for your mortgage before you start house hunting.


Not only does it set a limit on how much you have to spend, it means you can bid or negotiate confidently when you do find a property that you want to buy. It also shows the vendors, and the agents, that you are serious about buying and it helps speed up the process when you do find a home you like. 

As with home loan applications there are a few things you can do to make sure your pre-approval application is approved. 

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  • Firstly save that deposit - the bigger, the better your chance.
  • Make sure you have paid off any short term loans that you can, and pay any credit card debt each month.
  • You will also want to take care of your every day accounts. A lender will want to see that you live within your means, so try to leave some money aside, after all your expenses each month.

If you are considering applying for pre-approval it might be worth having a look here  for more information, or get in touch and I'll talk you through the process.



Why the Bank Might Say No

There can be various reasons why a bank may decline a mortgage application. If you are a first home buyer, it really is worthwhile knowing some of the most common reasons for this so you can minimise the chances of it happening to you.

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  • Not Enough Deposit - one of the biggest deterrents for any home buyer is having to save 20% of the purchase price. While the benefits of a large deposit means less risk to both you, the purchaser and the lender, it can cut first home buyers out of the market. Lenders will pay attention to the quality of the deposit. Regular contributions towards Kiwisaver are seen as genuine saving versus a gift from a family member, so bear this is mind.
  • Not Enough Income - lenders are required to ensure home owners will still have sufficient funds for their everyday living expenses, as well as mortgage repayments.  This is calculated by your debt to income ratio - how much you earn versus how much you have to pay out each month. When this is too high, typically exceeding 40%, you may be declined as you also need to allow for any increase to interest rates. So you may need to look at a more affordable property, paying off any debt or ways to increase your income.
  • Bad Credit History - this can definitely factor into being declined. Your credit history is a record of all financial dealings including hire purchases, credit cards and personal loans. So it can be worthwhile checking online to ensure there are no errors in your records. Should you have bad credit though, there may still be lending options for you with some non-bank lenders. 
  • No Proof of Income -  For those that are self-employed, a contractor or part time worker, it may be difficult to prove your income. Your lender needs to know you can earn enough to meet your income to debt ratio and make repayments. Again there may be a solution with a non-bank lender or talking to a mortgage advisor about your options. 

The Property Market Is Cooling Off This Summer

The overheated property market has cooled somewhat over summer, and the Reserve Bank has responded with a slight loosening of the Loan to Value Ratio rules around lending. For first home buyers who have been discouraged over the past 2 years it is a change that could enable them to realise their dream of home ownership.


In Auckland specifically, the market is slowly settling back to a more normal state and investors have been less active due to LVR restrictions and the possibility of changes to the rules around negative gearing. This has put first home buyers in the box seat.

Mortgage Express has more on the changes we are seeing in the market and how they may affect you - read more by clicking on the 'full article' button below.

Northland is an emerging real-estate hot spot!


My speciality is getting Aucklanders who dream of living the Kiwi Dream out of the big smoke and into a life with a better pace.

Northland is a natural destination for people who want to enjoy the region's stunning beaches, fresh air, open space,  job market and proximity to cities such as Whangarei and Auckland. Maungaturoto is an example of one such destination and is just 1hr 15mins north of Auckland. For a fraction of the cost of an equivalent house in Auckland, buyers can secure a home in a growing area. (See my latest listings HERE)

But, don't take my word for it - REINZ's latest report highlights the upward trend in prices in Northland and a reducing number of days on the market for properties:

The Northland region has seen the busiest Christmas period for the last 10 years, with significant buyer enquiries rather than just casual holiday enquiries. In particular, Kerikeri had a busy holiday period with local agents commenting that it feels like a town that people are wanting to move to for lifestyle reasons. However, there is high interest, but many enquiries haven’t translated through to sales yet. We anticipate this busyness will continue over the next few months rather than having a traditionally quiet January period too.

- Bindi Norwell REINZ Chief Executive Officer

For more on moving to Northland visit


Want to talk about your options? Send me your details and I'll call or email you back as soon as possible.

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