Building A New Home In NZ - 03/11/2015

Owning their own home is front of mind for many Kiwis, with our recent State of the Home Survey revealing that 1 in 5 surveyed hope to own their own home within the next 3-5 years. Wishes aside, homeownership is a major hurdle for many New Zealanders with 62% of survey respondents saying it will be difficult to buy a house without support from family or friends and just over 40% believing they are not at all likely to own a house in the next 3 - 5 years.

The question then is: how do we help that 62% to secure the home of their dreams?

 

To build or to buy

Deciding whether building a first home or to spend the weekends open homing for a new place to live is going to be an easy call to make depending on what area of New Zealand you’re planning to reside in.

Auckland house prices are skyrocketing, with some first home buyers queueing up in the wee hours just to get a look in at auctions for new subdivisions. And many of these blocks are going for close to half a million dollars.

Building a new home can seem like quite an undertaking, but with many kitset options like A1 Homes and Platinum Homes, building a new home has never been more doable. All the hard parts are done for you - the architecture, the plumbing, the building consents - all you have to do is sort out the finance.

 

Kiwisaver and home ownership

Home ownership is definitely a priority for most Kiwis, with 86% of those aged between 18-34 years focused on owning their own home.

HRV’s own Chief Executive, Bruce Gordon says that it’s now commonplace for children to believe the goal of homeownership is unachievable without parental support. Gordon says that “something needs to be done to help first home buyers, but at the same time there needs to be a focus on improving the condition of New Zealand’s housing stock in general”.

But there is some hope for the young folk dreaming of purchasing a property. Investing in savings schemes like Kiwisaver from a young age can provide a valuable nest egg when it comes to mortgage time.

 

Using KiwiSaver to build

Depending on what part of the country you’re planning to build a house in, and what type of house you’re looking to build, there can be some great subsidies on offer if you’re a member of the Government’s KiwiSaver scheme. Once you’ve been contributing to KiwiSaver for 3 years or more, you could be entitled to a HomeStart Grant.

 

KiwiSaver HomeStart Grant

After 3 years of contributing to KiwiSaver, you may be entitled to one of two KiwiSaver HomeStart grant types:

  1. For Purchasing an Existing Home - You could be eligible for between $3,000 and $5,000 depending on the length of your KiwiSaver membership.
  2. For Building a New Home - This grant can be used to build or a purchase a new home, or to purchase land for building on. This grant is usually larger than the first option described, effectively doubled. 

 

Using KiwiSaver to buy

When you’re looking at purchasing your first home you should investigate what portion of your Kiwisaver funds can be made available to you. If you and your partner both have Kiwisaver portfolios, then you may be able to use both funds to finance your house purchase. Even better!

Building Or Buying A New Home Checklist

Whether you’re looking to buy or build, there are some things that should always remain on your property checklist. When going to lot viewing or open homes here are some things to take into account:

  • Know the area - investigate the suburb you’re looking to make a home. If you have children then it’s important to look at the local schools and recreational facilities. Check if there are shop and supermarkets nearby. And while you’re at it, check out the public transport options.
  • Professional advice when looking to buy or build - having a good solicitor who understands the area you’re considering moving to can help you avoid issues down the line. They’ll be familiar with local bylaws and any impending law changes that may affect your build.
  • Property reports - Every New Zealand property has what is known as a Government Valuation (GV) or Rating Valuation (RV), which is the value that annual rates (property taxes) are calculated on. It’s a good idea to get an independent valuation of the property to ensure the true value is recognised. Generally a GV and RV assessment is done without a visit to the property, so some things can be missed or over estimated.
  • Building and LIM reports - A building report isn’t essential but it can give you peace of mind regarding the integrity of the building you’re about to purchase. LIM reports are available from the local city council. A LIM report detail all historic information regarding a property and any building permits that have been granted for the property. For example, a swimming pool permit or deck build permit. These can take some time to obtain, so make sure you apply for one well in advance .
  • Title search - LINZ looks after millions of land records for the Crown, including property titles, related land documents and survey records. These records show ownership history, and the exact borders of a property. Make sure you check out the title before purchase so that you can ensure the seller has a legitimate right to sale.

 

Healthy home checklist

If you’re looking to buy or rent an existing home then looking at what aspects make this a healthy home (or not) should be top of any buyer’s checklist. Some simple things worth assessing on any dwelling: 

  • insulation - does the house have it? In the walls, under the floor?
  • ventilation - just windows? Or has a ventilation system been installed?
  • heating - fireplace? heat pump? What fixed heating options are there?
  • water quality and water source - rain, bore, or mains?
  • water pressure - How does the shower run? Is it a dribble or a waterfall?

According to our survey results, when choosing a home (to rent or buy) insulation is the top priority for homeowners. Avoiding the poor health implications of having a cold, mouldy and damp home appear to be the #1 reason for this prioritisation. But why else are these features so important to homebuyers?

 

Why having a healthy home should be a priority

Insulation helps keep your home warm

Many New Zealand homes are poorly insulated, which is why the Government launched The Warm Up New Zealand: Healthy Homes project. Effective insulation acts like a blanket for your home. Keeping it warm, whilst still letting it breathe. Combined with ventilation to dry your home out and efficient heating, an insulated home can help you to stay healthy through the cold winter.

Ventilation systems for clean air and clean living

It’s approximated that ⅓ of all kiwi homes have a serious issue with dampness and mould, whilst 46% are prone to condensation throughout the year. When you combine that with common allergies to pollen, and other respiratory issues triggered by things like asthma, keeping our in-home air clean is pretty important. An HRV ventilation system can help to dry out a damp home, better than windows alone, reducing mouldy and damp conditions.

Warm up with a heat transfer system

Log Burners and gas heating are a good option if you can afford the ongoing costs of chimney maintenance, firewood, or gas supplies. But if your home isn’t suited to either of these options, then you’re going to need to look to electricity generated heat sources. Oil heaters and fan heaters can be expensive to run, and electric blankets aren’t the safest thing to fall asleep on. HRV’s home heating systems use the latest technology to warm up your home. 

  • Heat Pumps: Great for all spaces, and with the added bonus of a cooling setting - great for the summer months!
  • Heat Transfer System: An HRV Heat Transfer uses heat from your fireplace or heat pump to balance the temperature throughout your home. Our heat transfer kits are a great way to ensure your whole family stays warm, no matter where they are in the house.
  • LHZ Tablet Range: An efficient way to even up temperature across those awkward, or small spaces. 

 

Quality water filtration

Our survey respondents revealed that 33% of their homes have in water filtration, whilst 11% say the purity of the water in their home is not good or terrible. Many New Zealand homes have access to quality natural water supplies, but if you’re in an environment where your pipes aren’t so reliable then a good water filtration system could be right for your family.

Open Home / Property Viewing Checklist

When you’re heading to a bunch of Sunday open homes it’s important to have a checklist of things that you can’t afford not to check. This is going to vary from person to person, family to family, and city to city. But there are a couple of things you should check, no matter if you’re renting or looking to buy. Here are a few tips:

  • Washing line spot - will it still get your clothing dry in winter or is it obscured by trees?
  • Parkingoptions - on street, off street, how many cars?
  • Windows - are there any gaps around the frames where drafts may keep in and heat escape?
  • Treesand landscaping - are there any overgrown bits that could be hard to maintain?
  • Moisture on curtains - this could indicate bad air circulation and poor ventilation
  • Microclimate - some properties may be lower in the valley, or on the dark side of the street. Look for the direction of sun - if the property’s north facing you can be confident your property won’t be left in the dark.

Getting your new home up to scratch

If you’re after a healthy home that’s energy efficient, keeps you warm in winter and cool in the summer, then why not book in an obligation-free home assessment with HRV. There’s no cost involved in the assessment; but one of our in-home experts can show you the potential you never knew your house had. Get in touch today to book your assessment.

 

Further reading