Once you’re ready to buy a property in New Zealand, you’ll find the buying process here is well organized and regulated to ensure a fair process for both buyers and sellers. The entire purchase process can take as little as three to four weeks to complete once you’ve found the place you want.

For Government information about building and housing visit The Real Estate Agents Authority.

When you do buy, make sure you get a LIM—Land Information Memorandum. It’s a document produced by the local Council that includes all sorts of important information about the property you’re considering.

Also be aware that some homes built with a plaster finish (mainly in the 1990s) have developed problems with weather tightness. If you’re considering a home of this type, visit the Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment for this and other useful information about building.

Buying restrictions

There are no restrictions on foreigners buying property in New Zealand. But you will need to apply to the Overseas Investment Office for approval to purchase if you are buying a property:
• For more than $10 million
• That comes with more than 5 hectares of land
• With a plot that consists of coastal land and is larger than 21,527 square feet.

Where to Buy

Auckland

Although Auckland isn’t the country’s capital, with 1.2 million residents it’s New Zealand’s largest city. Situated at the narrowest point of the North Island, Auckland is a melting pot of Polynesian, Asian, and Kiwi cultures with all the shopping, restaurants, and entertainment you’d expect from a big city.

Often called the City of Sails, the city has three harbors and golden beaches within a 10-minute drive of the CBD and overlooks the Hauraki Gulf, home to dolphins, dozens of islands, and more white-sailed yachts than you can count.

Property Samples in Auckland:

  • A two-bedroom, one-bathroom house in the popular Meadowbank area of Auckland. Comes with a balcony, off-street parking, and is a short walk from bus and train services. Price: NZ$149,500 ($107,550).
  • In a popular suburb of St. John’s is a two-bedroom home with a fully fenced front and back yard. It offers an open-plan dining and lounge area, as well as a balcony with urban views. Price: NZ$130,000 ($93,549).
  • A one-bedroom, one-bathroom apartment in a premium location at Prince’s Wharf in downtown Auckland. Comes with a sea view and is well serviced by public transport. Price: NZ$123,000 ($88,457).

Wellington

Wellington lies between a stunning harbor and rolling green hills near the southern tip of North Island. Much like San Francisco, it has cable cars, Victorian houses, a wonderful pier, and great food. Home to more than 400 bars and restaurants, Wellington is a culinary experience for the finest gourmet. The café culture is centered near Cuba Street, a trendy, downtown outdoor street mall.

The city has several large department stores, designer boutiques, gourmet food halls, art galleries, and specialty shops.

Property Samples in Wellington:

  • A one-bedroom, one-bathroom house in a suburb of Wellington. Situated in a quiet cul-de-sac, this house offers off-street parking and a large yard. Price: NZ$185,000 ($133,032).
  • In Wallaceville there is a comfortable two-bedroom, one-bathroom home. It is fitted for gas heating, and there’s also a patio and a garage. Price: NZ$199,000 ($143,074).

Christchurch

Neat and pretty, Christchurch, (located on the country’s South Island) bills itself as New Zealand’s “Garden City” and is probably the closest you’ll get to an English city outside of England. Lots of Gothic architecture…tidy little brick houses…old-fashioned trams scooting around the city center…people punting down the Avon River…it all feels very civilized. Christchurch’s Botanic Gardens are one of the most popular in the country.

Like everywhere else in New Zealand, Christchurch’s residents are sports mad. You’ll find several ski areas within a couple of hours drive of the city, cycle through Hagley Park in the summer or just sit outside a café on Victoria Street and watch the world go by.

Property Samples in Christchurch:

  • A spacious two-bedroom house in a suburb of Christchurch. Comes with a large back yard, and is close to local amenities and a golf course. Price: NZ$155,000 ($111,389).
  • A two-bedroom, one-bathroom home with colorful gardens and patio at the front of the house that gets lots of sun. Situated in a quiet area, but still close to downtown Christchurch. Price: NZ$189,000 ($135,797).

Image: ©iStock.com/Onfokus

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