New Zealand offers every conceivable housing style from fabulous city apartments to sprawled out suburban family homes and even cosy rustic country cottages. Where you work and your lifestyle will predict which options works best for your scenario.
Do you need space, perhaps a garden is essential. Or maybe you’d prefer to be in the city close to all amenities? Would you need easy access to public transport and local schools? Is it your dream to live near the coast or maybe you’d like to enjoy New Zealand’s breath-taking countryside.
Whether renting or buying, new arrivals can usually look forward to reasonably priced property, this is especially true of properties in the country or on the outskirts of Auckland and the other major cities.
Types of property in New Zealand
In New Zealand, the word ‘units’ are generally used to describe most types of dwellings and would include flats, town houses, duplexes and so forth.
When ‘home unit’ is used in an advertisement this refers specifically to a house and typically describes a modest house grouped with other similar houses around a driveway. These can be attached, detached or semi-detached and sometimes share a communal garden.
There is also a wide range of architectural styles available, with everything from ultra-modern apartments to older houses based on traditional English country styles.
Factors to consider when house hunting in New Zealand
• Insulation and heating
Regardless of where they choose to live, expats looking for a place to live in New Zealand should ask about heating and the amount of sun their potential new home gets as insulation is sometimes not what you might be used to – so ask about this when enquiring about a property.
As is the case in most parts of the world, expats moving to New Zealand with family should consider whether a prospective property is in a good school enrolment zone, as well as whether it is close to public transport options.
If you won’t have access to your own vehicle it’s best to find a property within walking distance to basic services such as a convenience store, the school, a doctor’s rooms and the train or bus station.
• Price differences between areas
As often is the case elsewhere, expats should keep in mind that property in larger cities such as Wellington and Hamilton will be more expensive than smaller towns and rural areas.
Auckland is especially expensive, commanding the highest prices in the country.
• Buying or renting property
Deciding whether to buy or rent in New Zealand is a question faced by most expats. Many new arrivals first choose to rent accommodation while they get a feel for the property market in the areas around their new home.
The majority of expats who move to the country with the intention of staying for an extended period of time do, however, tend to buy property after a year or two of living in New Zealand.
• Finding property in New Zealand
Rental houses or apartments can be found in the classified sections of local newspapers and various online portals.
There are also many rental agencies and estate agents, who sometimes handle rentals.