Nine months after you settle into a new city, you think “whew, don’t need to move for a while…” NOPE.
The Kiwi and I are renters. Renters in Washington, renters in Auckland. A couple of months ago, our property manager had told us that our unit was up for sale. It was advertised with the line “tenants want to stay”. So we thought that it would be sold and the new owners would want to keep the rental income flowing.
That didn’t happen. The unit was sold, and we were given our vacate notice, roughly 45 days to move out. So hence a mad dash to figure out where to go next. While we were looking for a new place, the new owner already had people looking at the unit to buy it after he did some renovations and flipped it.
Luckily, we found a place within a week in one of Auckland’s coastal suburbs, It wasn’t fun to schlep two bedrooms worth of stuff across town in one weekend, but we’re settled and enjoying the new area.
On the left, our old backyard (which I liked to squint and make believe we lived on farmland). On the right, the road our new home is on, going down toward Mission Bay.
This whole moving scenario is an example, to me, of what exactly Auckland housing market is like.
The market was and still is too hot to buy into: Kiwi home ownership is as ingrained into the psyche as is American home ownership is, so demand for a home and a yard is high. Plus: migrants (*cough* hi) want to buy for the lifestyle and or the good education system (if kids are an issue).
Now, you could buy a home in a number of different spots in New Zealand for lifestyle and education reasons. Fly into Wellington on a clear day, and it looks like a Mediterranean city that happens to be a capital with lots of good coffee shops. But Auckland has the airport offering direct flights to almost any Pacific Rim country, including the U.S.
Jobs, airport, lifestyle, education system: All of these can explain why the average house price in Auckland is almost $800,000 NZD, or over half a million USD.
This month, the government instituted a new laws requiring 30% down payment on homes, which may be cooling the market a bit. It’s too soon to tell, at least in my opinion.
Where does that leave us? Still renting, which is fine. We’re locked in to a few-months contract. Hopefully we will stay put for a while.