'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.

Thursday, January 21, 2010

Earthquake today

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We had an earthquake in NZ today. It felt like about 4 on the Richter Scale. Nothing really. I shudder more than that when I've had a few NZ beers. It occurred for about 2 seconds. We get to experience similar strength earthquakes about 4 times a year I guess.
There is really no comparison to Japan when it comes to seismic intensity. Based on similar frequency, I'd expect to experience a few 'heaves' and 'rolling' motions. Tokyo is the worst because of its position on a large sedimentary plain which exacerbates the intensity of earthquakes. Earthquakes there tend to persist far longer as well. Over 30 seconds is common, and often there are several together.

Kiwi injustice

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Here is a nice You Tube for the Kiwis. Ok...we have established that Kiwis know what people look like. Why are they so confused with ewes. Anyway NZ could do with some new blood. The arrival of Indian immigrants could not happen soon enough. A bit of gene diversity is needed in this country. A little cultural education will not go astray. That guy on the right is 'classic NZ genes'. I don't recognise the other guy. Maybe from a more remote NZ genetic pool in the highlands. Well, thanks to him I guess his tribe has discovered civilisation in Australia. :)

Wednesday, January 6, 2010

NZ relativism needs to end

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New Zealand is lagging the world in terms of economic prosperity. Being an Australian living in NZ, I am surprised at the extent to which NZ is clinging to the prospects of catching up to Australia. Notwithstanding the importance of the Closer Economic Relationship (CER) and the proximity of the countries, and their similarities, it seems a bit myopic to focus on this one particularly small country, particularly from the point of view of public policy formulation.
In NZ constant comparisons are made with Australia - the latest one being the fact that national income per capita in NZ trails Australia by 34%. Whilst I can understand the appeal of Australia from the perspective of being a 'close market', I would suggest it might be a little too close in some respects. i.e. NZ is like Australia a producer of low value commodities. Why enter a competitive market for the same products where you might differentiate yourself overseas. Certainly I can understand the attraction of exports to Australia for NZ Small-Medium Sized Businesses (SMEs). They need to keep costs down and familiarity makes sense.
I am more concerned with NZ public policy makers trying to emulate the Australian 'success' because its not what it seems. Australia is enjoying a lot of economic prosperity simply because it has huge, world-class resources of minerals, which NZ does not. Australia is experiencing huge capital inflows by Chinese, European and US companies to finance mining projects, which will generate sizeable revenues for 50+ years.
Australia is making use of its competitive advantage. These large resources are close to the coast, Australia is close to Asia, and it already has established infrastructure to service these mines, including deepwater ports and rail linkages. There is the possibility NZ will find some large gas fields in future, but at the moment that is a 'pipe dream', and anyway Australian projects will likely seize the lions share of gas developments in the next few years because of resource security issues in NZ.
The right strategy for NZ is not to copy Australia because we can see there are some important differences between the two countries. NZ needs to get clever at developing its intellectual capital. Hopefully it will entice some of its expats to return home to develop businesses, or use those links to make connections in foreign cities. The reliance on low-value farm products has to end. Just $5 billion of NZ's $38 billion of exports comes from more sophisticated technological goods. NZ needs a Nokia-type enterprise. That is where the future of NZ lies, and here is one company making a great impression in accounting (business) services. The company is Xero , and its listed on the NZ Stock Exchange. It offers online accounting services to companies around the world. This is exactly the area which makes sense for NZ. I wanted to recommend this company because there are too few great stocks in NZ, and this is one which could make a great impression. I like Windflow Technologies as well, however this one has more leverage because of internet scalability.

Friday, January 1, 2010

Finding a home in NZ

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New to NZ? Well we have found the perfect way to find a home in NZ. Quite simply the best opportunity is to buy a van and turn it into a campervan. You can buy a van for less than $5,000. Any conversion is likely to cost you no more than $2,000 if simply done. The good news is that you will be adding value to the vehicle. You don't need a customised fit-out because any such permanent construction only reduces the flexibility of the vehicle for the next buyer. The essentials are:
1. Space for a mattress and sleeping bag
2. Power with connection to alternator for a trickle charge.
3. Showers at local swimming pools (usually $3-4 for entry) - free at the beach

You might want refrigeration, though for the most part I think NZ is too cold to justify a refrigerator. You might consider the alternatives instead:
1. Buying fresh fruit & vegetables
2. Buying long life milk.
If you need a fridge, you might need to get a gas cylinder to ensure sufficient power supply, as you might not be driving sufficiently to charge the battery on a continuous basis.

More tips on campervanning in Australia and NZ at our website.

How to move to NZ

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Many people are considering a move to NZ. They are either seeking a change, wanting a better life for their kids, resentful of the nation's trends, or otherwise just seeking an adventure for a few years. NZ is certainly an attractive option, though it is not without its drawbacks, so consider the following.
1. Cost of returning: Before moving to NZ consider that you might not like the place. For this reason think carefully before selling your house, disposing of your possessions, placing your dog in quarantine, or shipping your possessions. Even if you don't like NZ and decide to go to Australia (if you can), the costs of moving are just as exorbitant.
2. Exchange rates: The NZD is relatively high at the moment because of the perceived positive outlook for commodities. This outlook is likely to come under challenge in coming years as interest rates rise and global demand cools. Interest rates are low in absolute terms, but given the high levels of household debt in Western markets, people are more vulnerable to higher rates, so demand is more sensitive. This is particularly the case because governments will need to retain bracket creep in order to fund their programs.
3. Research: The first step is to carry out all the research possible. Its not just a case of understanding NZ, but knowing the alternatives. Australia offers a similar but different experience, and there are many other countries besides. You might like the current NZ prime minister, but this is a transient phenomena, so look for longer term trends if you are seeking longer term residency/citizenship. Refer to our NZ Property Guide.
4. Employment: The next step is for the primary income earner to get a job in NZ. There is little point coming to NZ if you have not lined up a job. NZ is a hard country to get a job because, aside from your cultural disadvantages, the local job market is stagnant. You need to ensure you have benefits to offer and that there is market acceptance of your value. Get the job first, even if that means traveling to NZ for a few months. The best thing to do is to take several months off work and travel to NZ to look for work. Most employers will however only look at you if you have a working permit, so be mindful of that. They are probably goal-orientated like you. You will need to establish where you will live. This is hard to do if you have yet to secure a job. Know your options. Most people are likely to end up in Auckland, Christchurch, Hamilton or Wellington, though some of you will be seeking a lifestyle (rural) change.
5. Buying a car: You might come to NZ and not like the place, but why not treat the trip as a holiday anyway. My advice is to get an international drivers licence so you can buy a car. Some of you will know already where you want to live, so you will just want a car for commuting. I recommend going to a car auction house like Turners. I picked up a car there for $3000 and sold it a month later (after driving around NZ) for $4500 in the private market. This will allow you to convey to a real estate agent you are serious about buying a home. If you don't know where you want to buy in NZ, then you might want to campervan around the country. If you are a single person, the cheapest approach is buying a delivery van, and add all the features you need to live short term. You can also use this van to buy and deliver all your basic necessities. There are a number of vans you could look at - Holden Combo, Citroen, Mercedes Transporter, VW Caddy, etc. You should be able to find one of these for under $NZ5000.
6. Renting: It never makes sense to buy before you know a place. It can be expensive staying in a city for a few months. If you are looking for flexible, renting space, I suggest you contact real estates in those areas where you are interested in, and ask if they have a place for rent short term. Most property owners would like a tenant whilst selling a property, particularly a short term tenant willing to accept higher short term rent. Its a good opportunity for you to understand the community, life in NZ, and it will allow you some flexibility if you decide to move to another area. I rented a beach-side 1br house for $120/week. Much cheaper than the $70/night in the local hotel and I offered him a weeks notice to move. I was interested in buying the place, but it was handy accommodation even if he rejected my offer.
7. Family move: Only after you have secured a job would I consider moving the family. At this point you might want to look at longer term accommodation (>6mths), as your family will need to determine whether they like the country. I would be inclined to rent the family home in your home country until your family is satisfied. The exception of course is if you are selling in a falling housing market. Also consider the exchange rate. Renting a furnished house is otherwise the way to go. The merits of shipping all your home possessions will depend on its value. The home furnishings market is more competitive in the USA than NZ, so it might be better to ship if you buy high end furnishings.
8. Buying a home: A year after you arrive, you will have some idea of how much you like NZ. Hopefully you will have taken the opportunity to travel to Australia too to decide if that country suits your lifestyle and career values. That is best done on your way to NZ, or before moving your family.

Negatives aspects about living in NZ

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There are many positive aspects to living in NZ. In this article I want to explore some of the negatives.
1. Climate: NZ is cold and windy. If its not cold because there is an absence of sunshine, its cold because its really windy here. The reason that this country has a lot of wind farms (despite no subsidies for them) is because its mostly windy. More problematic is that its more windy in summer when you would expect to be out in the sun. I went for a walk yesterday. It was a sunny day, but I got 'brain freeze' because I forgot my hat. This of course does not preclude having a good time, it just places obstacles in the way. Consider this: The window of opportunity to go to the beach without cold winds is narrow. You can however use a wetsuit. If you enjoy canoeing there will be no shortage of water because it rains a lot. Mind you the rains are not excessive so fear not.
If you don't mind being well-insulated indoors and outdoors, then living in NZ is fine. A lot of houses are still uninsulated so beware when buying a house.
2. Lifestyle: NZ is divided between city and country. Rural towns are more lifestyle orientated, but I would say that is generally true of all NZ. This trend is by default because all the aspirational people tend to shift overseas - whether Australia, the USA, the UK or Japan. It leaves few jobs and little domestic demand growth to forge a business. At least compared to other countries.
3. Productivity: Working in an air conditioned office is the same experience in most parts of the world - at least where the systems work. In NZ, if you are working outside the office environment, you will tend to find the climate affects your productivity. I think its related mostly to the temperature and humidity. I find myself to be far more productive in the Philippines and Australia (2nd). In NZ, I am inclined to go to bed earlier and wake up later.
4. Business opportunities: NZ has little domestic demand because the population is small, the per capita income is low, productivity growth is low, most consumption is personal rather than business investment.
5. Welfarism: There is a tendency in this climate for people to depend on the government for financial support. The implication is that the lack of income places a significant burden on everyone, and business in particular. If you are living in NZ, the burden is mostly in the form of land taxes (rates of $1300-3000 per annum) are typical, compared to Japan ($300-500) and Australia ($700-1000) at the lower end of the market. The other burden is the 12% GST. These levels are not high by European standards, however if you are a retiree or a low-income earner they go direct to your bottom line.
6. Isolated: NZ is relatively isolated from the rest of the world, and also the other island. There is a significant cost moving between the two islands, with each offering substantial benefits. It would be nice if they were conjoined twins. Fortunately NZ is close to Australia and airfares between the two countries are coming down, and already offer significant savings. The positive side of this argument is that activities are convenient and access is not congested. There is little traffic.
7. Monoculture: NZ is a small place so don't expect as much culture as other countries. Mind you they are pretty good despite their small population. Even small towns of 40,000 people seem to manage their share of museums, restaurants, art galleries, cafes, historic sites, Maori preservation sites, etc. When I first came here in 1993 it was simply a farming community. Today the major cities and even some of the larger towns offer far more interesting cultural experiences.

I find the climate particularly limiting though if you don't mind going to the beach with a wetsuit or 3 layers of clothes in summer, no problem. Winter is actually not so bad because the winds are milder. The climatic factor is less of a problem in the north. I would reflect on the average wind speed charts offered in our 2010 report - out soon and available complimentary to those who buy the 2009 edition.

Some of you will wonder what I am complaining about given that you are coming from more extreme climatic conditions in the USA, UK or Europe. Enough said. Much depends on your values, personal circumstances and constraints.

'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.