Real Estate

Knock me down with a feather, the Herald actually did some proper investigations

The NZ Herald has been leading the charge of anti-immigrant house buying foreigners are forcing up the cost of homes. Their stories week after week have led to the perception that Asians are buying up our land.

After all that they’ve decided to do some investigation into all the claims made by various vested interests.

And what did they find? Well…that all their headline grabbing stories can’t be substantiated with any facts.

Foreign buyers are pushing house prices out of the reach of ordinary Kiwis. Or are they?

The evidence on the ground of non-resident Chinese buyers snapping up property isn’t as compelling as letter writers would have it.

White faces at auctions aren’t questioned. Asian faces are considered to be non-residents snapping up our property. Yet 54 per cent of overseas buyers – according to the BNZ – come from Australia, Europe, UK and South Africa.

As BNZ economist Tony Alexander points out, few if any auction goers have an ability to distinguish Kiwi-Asians from visitors.

The Herald was told by a Long Bay resident that new million-dollar homes in the Vaughan Farm development were almost all vacant – “bought by rich Asians and left unoccupied to reap the capital gain”.

The “evidence” was that there were no lights on the hillside at night. Yet when the Herald visited on a week night in May, most of the finished homes either had lights on, cars outside, or both.    Read more »

Don’t live in Auckland? Then Aucklanders will come to you

After months of property price increases in the country’s largest city, new figures show that Aucklanders on the hunt for a house are now looking further afield.
Property listing website says the average asking price for a house in Auckland last month was $800,000.

Chief executive Brendon Skipper said the website’s data also showed that there had been a huge leap in the last year in the number of Aucklanders looking at properties in the regions.

“In particular, they’re looking in the likes of Hawkes Bay, Waikato, Northland – so we thought it was interesting given … that house prices in Auckland have been going up quite steadily over the last six months.”

Hawke’s Bay attracted the most interest, with a 150 percent increase in views, but Manawatu-Whanganui, Waikato, Northland and Bay of Plenty were not far behind.

Spend some time looking into real estate agent windows, and you get a sense of what is on the go in various parts of the North Island.   Read more »

Big housing announcement today?

Richard Harman writes about a supposed big housing announcement later today from the Prime Minister.

It seems there are rumours floating around Wellington and they have come to the ears of Harman.

Speculation is mounting tonight that the Prime Minister is about to announce a major move on Auckland housing.

He is set to deliver the keynote address at the Lower North Island National Party regional Conference on Sunday and it is thought he will make the announcement there.

No details are confirmed at this stage.

But on Wednesday, Reserve Bank Governor, Graeme Wheeler told Parliament’s Finance and Expenditure Committee there were three options — a capital gains tax, stamp duties or “addressing” the tax deductibility of interest payments by property investors.

Mr Key will not announce a capital gains tax.

He in particular, but most in National’s caucus as well, are ardently opposed to the idea.

Stamp duty on property transactions is payable in all Australian states except Queensland.    Read more »

Idiot of the week

idiot of the week

What sort of fool sends poo in a box and encloses a note on his own letterhead?

Well…a real estate agent did precisely that.

A real-estate agent has admitted sending poo in the post to a business rival – but says it wasn’t his.

Grant Campbell Tucker, 58, originally denied the allegation and was due to appear in Auckland District Court yesterday on charges of posting a noxious substance (namely faeces) and using a telephone to offend.

However, the court confirmed Tucker had pleaded guilty to the Postal Services Act charge and would be sentenced in June, while the other charge had been dismissed.    Read more »

Want to live where Lusty Lyin’ Len lives?

I don’t, but some might.

He’s selling his home with 7 bedrooms and 5 bathrooms for something smaller.  No kidding.  He’s rattling around in there.

Embattled Auckland Mayor Len Brown is selling his family home. The exclusive Tiffany Close property on the outskirts of Manukau City has been listed for sale with Pakuranga & Howick Realty. The popular residential auction process is being bypassed and the property is on the market at a set asking price of $1.75million.

There is already a conditional offer on the sprawling 19-year-old chalet-style home, which Brown owns with wife Shan Inglis.

The two have rarely been seen together since news emerged last year of Brown’s two-year affair with former Ethnic People Advisory’s Panel member Bevan Chuang.

Brown has been under fire about his behaviour all year. Read more »

Turns out there is affordable housing, it’s just not in Auckland

There is considerable moaning from the left about the lack of affordable housing.

As I have noted many times house are affordable even in Auckland. In fact there are so many that people are forced to sell them, and if they were truly unaffordable then none would sell, but sell they do.

But there are many affordable housing options, and is just that they aren’t in Auckland.

At  20, Stacey Knuth of Whanganui has achieved what few young Kiwis her age can still do – buy a house.

She bought a state house in Gonville, a suburb which according to September quarter housing figures has the third-cheapest housing in the country.

A far cry from Parnell or Ponsonby, a house in Gonville had a median sales price of $110,000.

And it’s in close proximity to the country’s cheapest suburb, Castlecliff, where houses this quarter went for a median $88,000.

But Gonville has another distinction. It tied with Wellington’s Brooklyn for the quarter’s highest jump in house sales, up 145 per cent on the same period last year, due in part to a clutch of state houses on the market.

Whanganui has become a bit of a poster child for declining provincial towns, but to Knuth, who is locally born and bred, Gonville is a great place to live.

“I’ve been living here for about two months now and it’s really nice, it’s a good little four-bedroom home . . . It’s a good little neighbourhood, I’ve had no trouble.

“There’s no houses in front of me and no houses out back so on a clear day you can see the mountain straight out the front and then out back you can see the sea.”

Read more »

Native advertising? Yep

Read this article in the NZ Herald from yesterday…it makes you wonder how this is even news.

Canadian migrant Genevieve Westcott remembers the 20.5 per cent mortgage rates of the 1980s.

“When we first came to New Zealand in the mid-80s, we had planned to stay for just a year to sample the Antipodean delights. We had left behind a beautiful house in Vancouver. We were horrified at the mortgage rates in God’s Own. In 1987, when I was headhunted back to Canada, the mortgage rate had peaked at 20.5 per cent compared to Canada where the rate was 9.75 per cent for a one-year fixed mortgage. We didn’t waste any time buying a new home in Toronto,” the broadcast journalist remembers.

But by 1991, she had returned here, buying a sprawling villa in Devonport’s Summer St where she lived for 17 happy years.

“Our mortgage rate then, as I recall, was about 14.5 per cent. Luckily we brought Canadian funds with us from the sale of a Toronto home to bolster our purchase. But we still had to go to the bank and it took us a few years to pay off the mortgage. We had quite a party to celebrate when the momentous day arrived.

Read more »

Pimping the Poor, Ctd

Simon Collins returns to pimping the poor.

Case 1 – the brown poor…who apparently have to live in cars.

Serial breeders moaning about living in ac ar  Photo/ NZ Herald

Serial breeders moaning about living in ac ar Photo/ NZ Herald

The Tuuu family – mum, dad and their six children – have been living in a van for a week because they cannot find a house.

Two of their young children have become sick, and the baby, Maua, has developed a cough.

“It’s very cold at night,” Vaiopa’a Tuuu said. “I’m just so worried. I worry about my kids.”

Tamasailau Tuuu, his wife and their children, aged from 15 to 3-months-old, were doubling up with another couple and their three children in a three-bedroom house after their landlord sold their own rented home in Clendon, South Auckland, two months ago. But their friends asked them to move out.

“She was worried about her tenancy, and the neighbours were complaining about my baby crying at night, and the house was overcrowded and her kids needed their own privacy,” Mrs Tuuu explained.

Mr Tuuu works fulltime at the Zeagold chicken farm in Takanini, but is classed as a casual labourer so his net pay fluctuates between $800 and just $500 a fortnight.

Even with $512 a week in family tax credits and accommodation supplement, that is not enough to pay for a private rental. Average rents in Manurewa have risen in the past year from $382 to $408 a week for a three-bedroom house, and from $436 to $457 for four bedrooms.

So the family applied to Work and Income for social housing and were placed on the waiting list on September 9. Almost a month later, they are still waiting.

and Case 2 – the white poor…who are “trapped and paying half income in rent”:

Waterview couple Iain and Bianca Davies feel trapped in a rented house that chews up almost half of their net income.

They earn $960 a week, including family tax credits for their three children plus an accommodation supplement.

They pay $450 in rent for their four-bedroom home, and count themselves lucky because their landlord has not raised their rent for four years. They even manage to save about $50 a week. But they say the only way they will ever be able to buy their own home is to move out of Auckland.

“The problem is you can only have $16,200 in cash assets to get the accommodation supplement, and that threshold hasn’t changed for years,” said Mr Davies, 31, who helps families with housing problems every day in his work as budget advice manager for CARE Waitakere.

“As soon as you go over that you don’t get an accommodation supplement, so that’s a real poverty trap. You obviously need more than that to buy a house.

If we couldn’t get the accommodation supplement, we’d have to move out of Auckland, or I’d have to work more, or Bianca would have to work.”

Mrs Davies, 36, home-schools their eldest daughter Anwen, 5, and plans to do the same for the two younger ones, Ecclesia, 2, and 1-year-old Floriss.

They buy their food from a local organic food co-operative and “pretty much don’t spend money on extras”. Mrs Davies cuts her own hair and the children’s hair.

“We are fully aware that to buy a house in Auckland you need to be on a double income and earning at least $100,000, so for us it’s not a reality. It will be down the track, up north somewhere, where house prices are just dramatically less.”

I’m becoming increasingly …hmmm, (whats a good word for it?) incensed, infuriated, exasperated!, flabbergasted!  ….WHY are people soooo THICK?  Read more »

We don’t want your stinking apartments

Ever desperate to continue pitching for an intensified future Lawrence Yule and his buddies at Local Government NZ have organised a conference and found someone, anyone who will spout on about apartments.

The cost of properties with over-inflated price tags can be brought down with a rapid increase of high rise apartment blocks and granny flats, according to an expert speaking at a property seminar in Wellington tonight.

Local Government New Zealand president Lawrence Yule will lead a panel discussion on housing affordability with Finance Minister Bill English, Auckland Council Deputy Mayor Penny Hulse, economist Arthur Grimes and New Zealand Council for Infrastructure Development chairman John Rae.

Aha! Someone who will say that building apartments will make a difference to house prices and demand.

Normally Arthur Grimes is considered to be pretty smart and he has some good things to say.

But it appears he lacks understanding precisely how the mechanism of property and how the buying market works.

In fact – not many people do at all.

New apartments have to sell for between 8,000 and 10,000 per square metre of floor space in Auckland on average to allow a developer a margin. That can drop slightly in the CBD if car parks are discounted off the price by not building them. A 100 sqm apartment therefore would have a sales price around $1m.

New houses have to sell for $3,000-3,500 psqm. A $1m house will most often be a big 250-300 sqm house on land with yard and so on.

Apartments have terribly high ongoing costs distributed through body corporate fees. Houses don’t.    Read more »

Why is property around the world so expensive?

The opposition was crowing about an OECD report that said New Zealand has some of the highest housing prices in the world…which for most of New Zealand is a laughable joke. Just yesterday I spoke with a friend who has just sold a 3 bedroom house in Whanganui for $97,000, when the house was bought 5 years ago for $124,000.

The figures are being held up by Auckland real estate and other main cities.

In some places, though, like the United States – property is cheap. In others like New Zealand and London property prices are out of control.

Now officials say that London it is so out whack it is no longer affordable for people on high or low incomes – it’s just not affordable.

In 2010, Nick Williams oversaw construction of luxury apartments at London’s One Hyde Park, where a penthouse valued at 175 million pounds ($297 million) sold last month.

Now he works at the other end of the property ladder, building discounted homes for those shut out of the boom.

Local officials have “realised the housing crisis for people who are neither rich nor poor is massive,” said Williams, operations director at Pocket Living, which uses interest-free credit from the city to build homes selling for about 20 per cent below market value. “There’s a lot of pressure on us to deliver.”

In contrast to the $41.1 billion affordable-housing initiative announced this month by New York Mayor Bill de Blasio, London has opted for a piecemeal approach to taming home prices that have spiraled to records. The method has so far failed to meet Mayor Boris Johnson’s own expectations.

“The very fact that people above the median household income in London require subsidised housing is a strong indication of market failure,” said Andrew Heywood, a consultant who has researched housing for the Smith Institute, an organisation that describes its mission as promoting a fairer society.

“The housing market is fundamentally dysfunctional.”

Read more »