Why Buy in New Zealand?
So many of us these days are looking for a better quality of life than that offered in the UK, and New Zealand comes close to topping the bill for just that. Why? For many great reasons, some of which deserve a particular mention:
- New Zealand is the most "British" country in the world with around 85% of its population from British descent.
- It has low unemployment and there are labour shortages in many key professions.
- It continues to accept more immigrants from the UK than from any other country.
- It has more space than the whole of the UK but fewer people than Scotland! If it's space you are after, you will find it here.
- All of New Zealand's main cities enjoy over 2,000 hours of sunshine per year.
- The economy and housing market continue to power ahead.
- The way of life is centred on the great outdoors; hugely attractive to those looking for a less materialistic lifestyle.
When you consider that the main reasons for people wanting to move away from the UK include the poor state of the economy, the lack of job prospects and the overcrowding, one can understand why the idea of moving to New Zealand, albeit at the other end of the world, is something that many Britons yearn for. Here you will find a complete change in the pace of life.
Getting Started - is it possible for you to buy in New Zealand?
There are no restrictions in principle to buying property in New Zealand for foreigners and indeed New Zealand encourages foreign investors to buy there. The only caveat to this is if you are buying a property:
- For more than $10 million (£3.50 million), or
- When the property comes with more than 5 hectares of land, or
- If the plot consists of coastal land and is larger than 2,000 sq.m.
In these cases you will need to apply to the Overseas Investment Office for approval to purchase.
You do not have to be a resident to buy a property in New Zealand and the buying process is reasonably straightforward and more secure than in the UK since the first contract, once signed and a 10% deposit paid, is legally binding.
To find out more on how to get started on your New Zealand property buying journey, request a copy of The Overseas Guides Company's New Zealand Property Buying Guide.
Finance - how much does it cost to buy a property in New Zealand?
Costs of buying property in New Zealand are fairly low since there is no stamp duty and the estate agent's fees are typically paid by the seller of the property. You will need to budget for the following:
- Solicitor's fee - $1,000 to $2,000 depending on the extent of the searches to be carried out - more for further assistance with immigration/taxation etc.
- Valuation fee - $400-$500
- Transfer fee - $50-$70
- Building inspection report - $400-$500
- Land Information Memorandum - contains information from the local council on the boundaries, building consents for the property etc. $100-$400
If you are buying with a mortgage, you will be required to pay a registration fee of approximately $50. All these figures include GST (Goods and Services Tax) which was increased to 15% in October, 2010.
Finding a property New Zealand - where should you start?
Search for property in New Zealand with Rightmoveoverseas.co.uk - the best place to search for New Zealand property and part of Rightmove.co.uk, the UK's number one property website. New Zealand is a naturally very beautiful country with a great climate and a population of only 4 million living in a land area much larger than the UK. Should you decide to live permanently in your property in New Zealand you'd benefit from strong health and education systems and a lifestyle second to none. With the strength of the British pound, those purchasing property in New Zealand can generally purchase a New Zealand property vastly superior to what they previously owned in the UK; there is also no stamp duty or capital gains tax!
To find out more on how to finance and find a property in New Zealand, request a copy of The Overseas Guides Company's New Zealand Property Buying Guide.
Legalities - should you use a lawyer in New Zealand?
The process of buying a property in New Zealand is not complicated and is normally completed fairly rapidly. Once you have found a property you like you put in an offer which should be put in writing by the estate agent. The offer may be subject to such factors as a mortgage offer, searches and building inspection. You may also wish to make it conditional on obtaining a satisfactory report from the LIM. If the offer is accepted you will be required to pay a deposit of 10% which your solicitor will hold on your behalf.
At this point it is important to note that should another buyer come along before any conditions you have included have been met with approval with an unconditional offer; the seller can accept this offer. Once your conditions have been met however, which should not take more than a week, the contract becomes unconditional. It is at this time that you are required to pay your 10% deposit and both parties are committed to the sale. You will then proceed to agree to a "settlement date" and it is on this date that the property "settles" and you will pay the balance of the purchase price.
The whole buying process does not normally take more than around 6 weeks, depending on the complexity of the transaction.
Buying a home overseas is one of the most significant purchases you will make. Buying a property in New Zealand is not difficult but you need to be well informed regarding taxes, immigration and it is also helpful to seek advice regarding the culture lifestyle etc. After all, this is a long way away from the UK and will be a major step. You need to safeguard yourself from any possible issues at a later stage once you are settled in your new home.
Properties in New Zealand offer strong returns and capital growth in many city areas. The taxation system is favourable and there is currently no Capital Gains Tax although there have been proposals in the last couple of years to possibly introduce it at some stage. As with any overseas purchase, we strongly advise employing the services of a solicitor to assist you at every stage of the process. Although this will add to the costs involved, it will be money well spent for peace of mind in the future.
Settling in New Zealand - how can you make friends?
The education system in New Zealand has an outstanding reputation. You will find a choice of state run and private schools. Education is required from the age of 6 to 16 but most children start at age 5. Schools operate a 4 term year with at least 2 weeks' holiday in between terms and a 6 weeks' summer holiday.
At the end of a child's formal education, he or she will have the option to continue further studies either in New Zealand or overseas as the main school qualifications are recognised internationally.
Within the country, there are 8 Government funded universities offering both undergraduate and postgraduate degrees, as well as a wide choice of polytechnics and colleges offering a variety of courses as well as first-class pastoral care. There are great opportunities also for international students and a sophisticated support system set up for those coming from overseas.
To find out more on legalities, moving and settling into your new home in New Zealand, request a copy of The Overseas Guides Company's New Zealand Property Buying Guide.