Living in New Zealand

New Zealand proudly boasts one of the highest home ownership rates in the world. Housing in New Zealand is very affordable compared to numerous other countries, however the amount you should expect to pay for a house depends where in New Zealand you choose to settle.

If you are not directed by your work, choosing which part of New Zealand you will settle in may require some thought.

Property styles and prices vary widely by area. Prices have risen sharply in recent years due to high demand. Most New Zealand houses are stand-alone wooden buildings. Newer houses are insulated but older houses may have minimal insulation. Most houses are heated by open fires, wood burners, heat pumps, or electric or gas heaters. Central heating and double-glazing are not common.

This is a long narrow country, with large geographical features that generate quite different climates and lifestyles. One early consideration if possible might be to put off a long term commitment until you have seen the rest of the country.

The north of the North Island can be almost tropical, and rarely sees a frost, and has great beaches and fishing. Moving down the North Island there are city lifestyles, dairy and horticulture farming, forestry, tourist, trout fishing, and many different kinds of coastal lifestyles available. There are adventure lifestyles, technical, IT and teaching opportunities, arts and café cultures, green and other rural opportunities.

To the south of the South Island you can have a true ‘European’ climate with 30 degree + Celsius temperatures in Summer, snow in the winter, and distinctive autumns and springs - while up north it’s green all the time.

As a non-resident, a person may buy property in New Zealand up to 1.25 hectares in area size. Over that size, Overseas Investment Commission approval must be obtained, before the purchase will be allowed. As a New Zealand resident, there are no restrictions on property purchases. Please note that the owning of property as an overseas citizen, does not entitle the owner to any exemptions for meeting residence policy. On its own, ownership of land in New Zealand does not qualify a person for residence.

Renting is a good first option when you arrive, because it gives you the security of a place to call home without the big financial commitment. A lot of New Zealanders own their own homes, so there is less rental housing available here than in most developed countries.

Prices and quality also vary and we recommend you visit the actual property personally before signing a lease (Tenancy Agreement). Other things to think about include how close the property is to transport, shops and schools, as well as the general feel of the neighbourhood.

Most rental properties are unfurnished, apart from an oven, a laundry facility and things like curtains and carpet. The landlord does not have to provide a heater so, in some cases, you may have to provide your own. So make sure you know how you are going to stay warm.