'Buying NZ Property – Download the free sample readings!

NZ presents some of the most alluring property in the Western World; particularly given the greater easy of residency, the low cost of property, and the liveability of the country. In addition, there is no capital gains tax, transfer taxes, VAT/GST or wealth taxes in NZ, so rest assured that NZ property is tax-effective! Learn more now!

New Zealand Property Report 2010 - Download the table of contents or buy this 180-page report at our online store for just $US19.95.

Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Property prices in NZ

Share |

Do you want to know the cheapest and most expensive houses in NZ?
Well its $7500 for the cheapest and $12.1 million for the most expensive - that's NZD of course, so multiple by 0.71 for the USD amounts. See the details at the NZ Herald. Unless you are buying at the lower end of the market its not time to be buying yet. Wait for global inflation to start hurting people.

Monday, September 14, 2009

Heating options and insulation in NZ

Share |

NZ is a fairly cold place. Surprisingly a great many houses are still uninsulated. What is more crazy is that the NZ government is attempting to compete with a lot of European countries by trying to encourage greater fuel efficiency. Their policy comprises offering grants to households which install air or water heat pumps, insulation and solar units.
I like the idea of establishing these technologies. The simple fact however is that they are overpriced because governments are trying to promote their environmental credentials. It really is a false economy, much like the $14-21K first home grants in Australia, which only succeeded in forcing up the price of property, and further expanding household debt in Australia. Worst of all, the most vulnerable section of the economy is being sucked in during a time of recession. Governments are evil ....long live their stay in purgatory.
So what should you do? Well interestingly, its often the technologies which are not subsidised which make the most sense, particularly those which you can install yourself, i.e. Wool insulation as opposed to pink bats.

I have spent a lot of time researching the various options, and as much as I like a heat pump, I'd be inclined to wait for better technology options because a heat pump is basically the reverse of a $1000 refrigerator, yet they cost $4500-5500, plus installation $700-1000. That $1000 subsidy goes straight to the manufacturer because of the rip-off prices. Basically they are expensive because countries like Germany are providing huge subsidies.
At this point I would invest in a nice warm wool jumper. Same for insulation. Air foam for $4000, when 3 people can install it in a day, its overpriced. Wait for competition. There is no justification for it. Roof insulation makes more sense and you can install it yourself.
A $70 oil heater makes the only economic sense at the moment. Just wait until the manufacturing capacity grows, eventually prices will drop. There will also be new technologies like Stirling solar engines and fuel cells. A good woollen jumper costs you $300. Sorry, I paid too much :)
I might add that local governments are ripping off the people by charging $260 to install every little thing. A solar panel, a open fire place all require council approval. Would it not be better to just require licensed installers to by-pass such cost constraints, and perhaps for non-licensed installers to require such approvals. Please, in the interests of ending slavery to an unthinking state!

Thursday, September 10, 2009

Life at the beach

Share |
New Zealand is of course a volcanic archipelago so it tends to have black-brown sand beaches with a high proportion of feldspar, magnetite, organics, or even shell (carbonaceous) grit. Having said that there is a significant number of white sand beaches, particularly in the Bay of Plenty and Canterbury Plains.
I like the black sand beaches because you tend not to get grit/sand blown in your face, which is important in a country with strong winds. Also I figure that black sand absorbs more radiation from the sand than silica. It might just keep you warmer if the wind chill is running beach-wise. Yeh, a chance in hell of that.
The problem of course in NZ is the cold climate. You really need a wetsuit to enjoy the beach. This photo was taken at midday on a particularly nice day, in early September near Napier. If I was wet it would be freezing. Mind you its probably pleasant Nov-March in the North Island. The west coast (say Wellington-Wanganui-New Plymouth coast) is colder because its windy, and so in these areas, and on the South Island, the swimming season is shorter.
If you are a beach person, I recommend East Coast Australia, anywhere from Sydney to the Gold Coast. I lived in Port Macquarie, and grew up in Sydney, and the beach season is far longer.

Wednesday, September 9, 2009

Property prices rising in NZ

Share |

A rise in property prices was not unexpected in NZ thanks to several factors:
1. The return of NZ expats from abroad - this will have increased home demand
2. The monetary stimulus - which essentially recapitalised the global monetary system, which keeps inflating asset prices
3. A fall in the NZD over the last year, resulting in very good market entries for foreign buyers
4. Latent demand - there is a shortage of property in many of the largest cities

For statistical info refer to this SMH story. The market can be expected to remain strong in the short to medium term, though inflation poses a risk to houseowners given the significant household debt levels. A conservative home equity is advised in the current market. Equities are far more liquid.

*Photo is from taken from city center, New Plymouth, New Zealand.

Thursday, September 3, 2009

Buying products in NZ

Share |
Living in NZ poses several problems or challenges. Among the biggest challenges are:
1. The high cost of products - clearly price mark-ups are very high because retailers are unable to get adequate returns, but more likely its a case of inadequate competition. Thus the company with the best distribution-sales model wins the bulk of the market.
2. The small range of products - there is a small amount of product to choose from.
3. The low currency - the NZ dollar has weaken considerably over the last 50 years. NZ used to attract premium prices for its exports. Today, its terms of trade are far worse.

If one chooses to NZ there are few opportunities to overcome these unfavourable challenges, but there are several common approaches:
1. Second hand goods: There is the opportunity to buy products online at sites like TradeMe, or from garage sales.
2. Buy online: There are opportunities to buy products online direct from the manufacturer. The attraction of this strategy is that you are buying direct from the manufacturer, or near-so, you are avoiding a huge mark-up by the distributor and retailer, and you have a far greater range of product to choose from. Living in Australia & NZ I am accustomed to a lack of product choice. Online the choice is wide-ranging. There is a trust issue finding a credible manufacturer, so you need to search for a credible supplier online. My GF does the marketing for Modern Tailor, but you can find others online. They sell tailor-made business shirts online.

There are of course a great deal of products which can be bought online. There are however logistical, order size, risk and other issues buying online from some suppliers, so its nice when there is a business who offers an online presence which offers all the convenience you could want.

Maoris taking the wrong approach to self-empowerment

Share |
Over the last few months the town of Wanganui has been wrangling with the issue of whether the council should change the name of the town to 'Whanganui', in accordance with the traditional Maori spelling. If changing the name was such an easy thing to do, we would of course conclude 'Why not'? The reality however is that a name change causes a great deal of inconvenience and cost to people because it requires:
1. Changing business names, changing address details, changing signs
2. Changing brochures, letterheads

My estimate is that it would cost $50 million to change these issues immediately, but far less if the change was graduated over 10-20 years since signs get revised, advertising gets re-written over time. After 10 years the cost might be as little as $2 million in terms of direct costs. But there is another problem.....confusion. People in NZ will of course be able to follow the issue, but for foreigners its a change that can only cause confusion. Maoris seem to have no regard for the impact of these superficial changes.

Is this the foundation of Maori pride? To have their rights neglected while they secure superficial name changes. The historical legacy of British occupation of the NZ islands was one of disrespect and ill-regard for Maoris. They have the basis upon which to demand significant concessions from their European custodians. But the best they can do is superficial name changes? Is this a strategy to weaken the enemy?

My belief is that if the Maoris continue to press cases for silly concessions like name changes, then they will surely only alienate empathy from Europeans who think they were ill-treated by the British. What is more concerning is that the Maori pursuit for recognition of rights could actually be a basis for wider recognition of rights for all NZ'ers. The problem as I see it is that people think the Bill of Rights actually gave them rights. This is more evidence of superficial thinking - this time by the Europeans. A Bill of Rights does not protect rights - it sabotages the possibility of having them. Have you read the book '1984'. Do you recall the concept of 'DoubleSpeak'. You have rights in name only. A right does not comprise a claim upon others rights. A right is not arbitrarily defined. A right is not a parliamentary sanction. A right is not a concession by a pack of politicians. When it is - you should be very very suspicious.

The way forward for Maoris is not arbitrary name changes - it is High Court challenges in the hope that they will eventually secure concessions as a result of judicial activism. Of course they will need an ethical argument to have success by this path. Personally I see little sign of long range thinking or the intellect to achieve such an outcome for all 'freedom-loving' people. For this reason I would suggest we will remain in a servile relationship with the state. Dutifully paying taxes with no choice, and no possibilities of standards of accountability, or any effective reproach. They have shored up the system so they have a two-party duopoly. Where is the justice?

Tuesday, September 1, 2009

Obtaining motorcycle license in NZ

Share |
New Zealand is a great country to travel around. The rounds are reasonably good quality and they are not so congested. One does need to anticipate the car drivers because theu might be less inclined to look if traffic is coming. Most cars in the country are bought 2nd hand, whether sourced in NZ or 2nd hand imports from Japan. For this reason there is a lot of cheap 2nd hand cars around. A car is often more attractive because of the wet, cold weather, though you can’t go past a bike for fuel efficiency/savings. There are of course 1.6Litre cars which keep costs down, though for local travel, you might consider a bike.

If you are the type of person who does a lot of short distance driving, then ultimately the best solution is either:
1. Bicycle – great for exercise, and no fuel cost. Pick a bike up on TradeMe for as little as $50, or from auction houses.
2. Moped – These are fuel or electric powered motorbikes under 50cc or <2kW. They can be used with a standard driver’s licence.

Mopeds are very popular for senior citizens trying to save money, as well as for students and teens in their final years at school. They can be purchased for around $1000-2500. A 250cc bike will cost between $1200-5000 on the TradeMe website – see www.trademe.co.nz.
Any motorbike or scooter powered by an engine over 50cc requires the driver to attain a special motorcycle licence. This licence can be achieved by completing tests. The most popular scooters are Vespa, Piaggio, etc. Helmets are mandatory in NZ for all riders and passengers.
If you have never used a bike before, you will need to get a Basic Handling “certificate” before you can even apply for a Learner’s Licence. The certificate covers 6 handling skills. There are several firms that offer the Basic Handling program - see Roadsafe . When you have obtained the Basic Handling “certificate” you can apply for the Learner’s Class-6 licence. You will need to complete a questionnaire (multiple choice test) about normal NZ road rules as well as 10 motorcycle-specific questions. Once you pass the test, you need to present your certificate, pass the basic eye exam, then pay the fee to become a Learner.

Learner’s can drive their motorcycles subject to the following restrictions:
1. You can only ride between 5 AM and 10 PM
2. You can’t carry passengers
3. You can’t operate a bike with an engine larger than 250cc’s.
4. You cannot drive over 70kph. The police permit faster speeds for safety reasons as long as you are travelling with the traffic.
5. Learners must display the Learners ‘L plate’ on their bike

After 6 months on a Learner Licence you take the Restricted Licence Test which includes another written exam and a practical riding test, where they follow your motorcycle to evaluate your driving. A Restricted Licence has the same limitations as a Learner Licence, apart from the allowance to you legally drive full speed limit and with no L plate. After 6 months on the Restricted Licence you can apply for a Full Licence. You must take another written test and two practical exams. On a Full License you can ride any size bike and carry a passenger. There are ways to shorten the test cycle by taking additional official courses—usually offered by the same folks that run the Basic Handling courses. I think the most you can shorten it though is to 9 months.

The process of securing a motorcycle licence is expensive and time consuming. You will spend about $1500 on certificates, licence fees, gear, and bike registration. You will need to restrict yourself to a 250cc bike initially, and there are a great number of those bikes available because most people want to trade up to a more powerful bike when they
get their Full Licence. For more info on licensing see www.ltsa.govt.nz/licensing/motorcycle.

'Buying NZ Property – Download the free sample readings!

NZ presents some of the most alluring property in the Western World; particularly given the greater easy of residency, the low cost of property, and the liveability of the country. In addition, there is no capital gains tax, transfer taxes, VAT/GST or wealth taxes in NZ, so rest assured that NZ property is tax-effective! Learn more now!

New Zealand Property Report 2010 - Download the table of contents or buy this 180-page report at our online store for just $US19.95.

Japan Foreclosed Property 2015-2016 - Buy this 5th edition report!

Over the years, this ebook has been enhanced with additional research to offer a comprehensive appraisal of the Japanese foreclosed property market, as well as offering economic and industry analysis. The author travels to Japan regularly to keep abreast of the local market conditions, and has purchased several foreclosed properties, as well as bidding on others. Japan is one of the few markets offering high-yielding property investment opportunities. Contrary to the 'rural depopulation' scepticism, the urban centres are growing, and they have always been a magnet for expatriates in Asia. Japan is a place where expats, investors (big or small) can make highly profitable real estate investments. Japan is a large market, with a plethora of cheap properties up for tender by the courts. Few other Western nations offer such cheap property so close to major infrastructure. Japan is unique in this respect, and it offers such a different life experience, which also makes it special. There is a plethora of property is depopulating rural areas, however there are fortnightly tenders offering plenty of property in Japan's cities as well. I bought a dormitory 1hr from Tokyo for just $US30,000.
You can view foreclosed properties listed for as little as $US10,000 in Japan thanks to depopulation and a culture that is geared towards working for the state. I bought foreclosed properties in Japan and now I reveal all in our expanded 350+page report. The information you need to know, strategies to apply, where to get help, and the tools to use. We even help you avoid the tsunami and nuclear risks since I was a geologist/mining finance analyst in a past life. Check out the "feedback" in our blog for stories of success by customers of our previous reports.

Download Table of Contents here.