... even as listings dipped in the city, indicating the “untapped potential” of surrounding areas is starting to be realised, one of the region’s top realtors says.
James Twiss, co-owner of Harcourts Four Seasons, oversees eight offices spanning the area from Hanmer Springs to Lincoln.
About 40 per cent of the company’s business is in Christchurch, and Twiss says while listings there are about eight per cent down on this time last year, activity outside the city has shown no sign of the usual seasonal slowdown.
The area encompassing Kaiapoi, Woodend, Ravenswood and Pegasus is now looking like “the next Rolleston” and offers a lot of potential for people getting in early, he says.
“There’s a lot of value there that I don’t think people have properly understood yet. Historically, if you were picking residential property in North Canterbury you would be looking at Kaiapoi and Rangiora but that’s widened a lot.
“What’s happening is all the transport links are opening up, and the council is focusing a lot of its growth attention into that corner.”
Twiss says commercial investment and jobs would likely follow the population, which would in turn help drive capital gains for the area's current homeowners.
Commuting into Christchurch for work will also become more attractive as transport options continue to improve, he says.
In a little over a year, there are due to be three major routes into Christchurch, with the Cranford St bypass joining passages along Johns Rd and Main North Rd.
“When you’re talking about growth, it means the jobs don’t need to be on your doorstep,” Twiss says.
Harcourts Four Seasons is well-positioned for a wide overview of the market. Having expanded last November to incorporate offices in Hornby and Rolleston, the team formerly known as Twiss-Keir Realty gained a territory that sweeps from its North Canterbury base, around and through Christchurch, out to Lincoln and Rolleston.
They soon noticed many buyers were looking for homes both north and south of the city. “Its eerie how similar it is. It’s like we’re discovering a new market,” Twiss said in May.
He says it now appears the Woodend region is following a similar trajectory to Rolleston – for several years the country's fastest growing town.
Lincoln is also performing well, he says, noting that value for money is a big part of the equation.
In Christchurch, meanwhile, lower-than-usual listings over winter don’t necessarily mean a slump, Twiss cautions.
Rather, the high number of appraisals being done by Harcourts Four Seasons suggests owners are gearing up a for spring listing. This is despite advantages to listing in winter.
“There’s always more competition in spring but the number of buyers is usually the same,” Twiss says.
For people looking to buy, he advises contacting with a salesperson because there are usually properties available that aren’t being actively marketed.
* Harcourts Four Seasons has offices in Rangiora, Kaiapoi, Hanmer Springs, Belfast, The Palms, Hornby, Rolleston and Lincoln (opening soon), as well as a dedicated property management division.
The expansion of North Canterbury’s top real estate firm southwest of Christchurch is fast closing the divide between two of the region’s most prized lifestyle areas. Twiss Keir Realty bought fellow Harcourts franchise Four Seasons last November, incorporating offices in Rolleston and Hornby into a long-running operation that now has seven branches reaching as far north as Hanmer Springs.
It is the largest and busiest real estate team in Canterbury, with 92 salespeople, 40 office support staff and 12 in a property management division.
Harcourts Four Seasons co-owner James Twiss says the expansion was designed to help the business better weather periodic slow downs in the market, with the Harcourts model providing strength in numbers by letting salespeople show or sell any property listed with the company. This emphasis on networking gives sellers the greatest possible reach and lets home buyers access a vast market through a single point of contact.
However, Twiss says it quickly became apparent that connecting North Canterbury with the fast-growing Selwyn District had a value greater than the sum of its parts. In both markets, people were essentially looking for the same thing, he says; modern, spacious homes in safe communities within easy commuting distance of town. People looking in Rolleston were often looking north of Christchurch, too.
“It’s eerie how similar it is. It’s like we’re discovering a new market where we’re able to transfer buyers and sellers across the city. With our structure of offices, we’ve got both sides covered. We’re the only company doing that.”
Twiss says the success of this crossover was made possible “almost overnight” by the Western Corridor motorway, which takes people from Belfast to Hornby and beyond on high-speed roads that are collapsing traditional notions of distance. “There is really good value in North Canterbury and people are realising that. Prices haven’t spiralled out of control, so you might be saving $100,000,” he says.
Harcourts has 470 real estate agents working cooperatively across Canterbury, and Twiss says while this network helps, the emphasis on
family and “good people” is equally important at Harcourts Four Seasons.
Twiss’s father, Geoffrey Twiss, founded the business in the mid-1980s and co-owner Greg Roberts also has numerous family members on the team.
Harcourts Four Seasons has offices in Rangiora, Kaiapoi, Hanmer Springs, Belfast, The Palms, Hornby, Rolleston and a new branch opening soon in Lincoln. Contact information: 0800 789 1011 or harcourtsfourseasons.co.nz.
Good Night Sleep Tight Charitable Trust’s mission is “ensuring that all children in the greater Christchurch area go to bed warm by supplying children in need with winter bedding and sleepwear.”
Harcourts Twiss-Keir Realty Ltd is proud to support Good Night Sleep Tight with a donation through the Harcourts Foundation, which will go towards purchashing 400 new packs that include pyjamas, singlets, slippers, dressing gowns, sheets, duvets, hats and gloves.
No matter what the cause, the Harcourts Foundation provides support to hundreds of organisations, enriching the lives of thousands of people in our communities.
The Harcourts Foundation has been around since 2008, so this year we are celebrating being 10 years-old.
Outdated meth contamination levels will continue to hamper private and municipal landlords for the foreseeable future.
Vacant state houses will be made available in a matter of weeks, but private homeowners with meth blemishes on their LIM reports will have to wait to have their records cleared.
Two hundred Housing New Zealand homes, including seven in the Waikato, will be put back in the letting pool after the Prime Minister's Chief Science Adviser, Sir Peter Gluckman, exposed a fatal flaw in accepted thinking around methamphetamine contamination.
Sir Peter Gluckman said there is no risk from meth smoking residue in homes. Standards NZ manager Carmen Mak said the national standard on methamphetamine testing and remediation is voluntary. Private landlords, however, must adhere to that national standard which, officially, has not changed.
Hamilton City Council city safe manager Kelvin Powell says nothing will change unless national meth standards officially shift.The meth testing and decontamination regime was developed at a time when there was uncertainty around safe levels of contamination.
"It was the first of its kind and as with all standards, they are developed as guidance and are voluntary unless cited in legislation," Mak said.
Gluckman found New Zealand authorities had made a "leap in logic" in setting standards - using an overseas standard based on what clandestine laboratories should be cleaned to. There was an absence of clear scientific and health information and an assumption trace levels of meth residue pose a health risk. In fact, he said, there was "absolutely no evidence" of any harm caused from passive use and safe levels are as high as 15 micrograms per 100 square centimetres. The national standard is a tenth of that.
Housing NZ is applying the proposed new standard immediately, a Housing NZ spokesperson said on Thursday, allowing more than 200 properties throughout the country to be filled. The first houses are expected to be re-let "in a matter or weeks".
But Hamilton City Council city safe manager Kelvin Powell said council adheres to the national standard on methamphetamine testing and remediation and unless it changes, council processes stay the same. He pointed to the Ministry of Health website, which adopts a contamination level of 1.5 microgram per 100 square centimetres.
"At this stage, the national standards we work to have not changed, so we are continuing to use the same processes," Powell said. "This also means there will be no changes to the way we report information on our LIMs." LIM reports are a summary of information on a property, noting codes of compliance, swimming pools, public stormwater and special features. They are used by house hunters to ensure they know if there are any problems with a property in their sights - including meth contamination - and has seen some vendors selling for well below the market rate and buyers spending heavily to remedy new purchases.
Any review of the standard will need to be done under the Standards and Accreditation Act 2015, require a committee formed of interested stakeholders and a draft sent out for public consultation before final approval by the independent Standards Approval Board.
Moving to a new town or city can be overwhelming, particularly if you're trying to choose a neighbourhood to buy a home in. While it’s true that what a great neighbourhood looks like can differ person to person, all great neighbourhoods do share some common factors that are universally appealing. Here we explore 10 signs the neighbourhood you live in (or would like to live in) is a good one.
Even if you don’t have children now, buying a property within an area renowned for great schools has a very positive affect on property prices. In most places, you generally need to live within a public school’s catchment area in order to send your child to that particular school, and some parents are willing to pay top dollar to ensure they live in the catchment area of a great public school.
Low crime rates
This is a pretty universal sign of a good neighbourhood. We all want to live in an area where we feel safe and secure and savvy property buyers will do their research and look at crime rates when it comes to moving to a new area, with this information readily available online.
A well-rounded neighbourhood is one that offers different things to different people. This could mean they’re plenty of nearby cafes and bars for foodies, walking and hiking trails for active locals, or even local clubs and leagues for engaged community members.
Living in an area where residents don’t have to travel too far to get out and about and enjoy the great outdoors makes an area more appealing. Think of parks, playgrounds, golf courses, tennis courts, public pools and even nearby lakes and rivers.
Not only does a neighbourhood look amazing when each house is well presented, but it also shows that your neighbours take a lot of pride in their home, a good sign for any prospective property buyer or seller. This doesn’t have to mean you live in a street of luxury properties either, great presentation starts with a mowed lawn, neat and tidy yard, freshly painted façade and clean, well-maintained footpaths.
Leafy and well established
Even in inner-city areas, a leafy main road, with well-established older buildings and homes can look really inviting. It shows the area has a bit of heritage given the age of the trees that line most streets and the age of the buildings which have been maintained over time.
Aside from great schools lots of factors play a part in making an area appeal to families. Funnily enough, most are listed above. In addition to these an area which has larger homes on potentially larger blocks is probably going to appeal more to families than say the heart of the city, where units run significantly smaller, with little to no outdoor spaces available.
Public transport and walkability
In larger areas being close to public transport is a must with a huge number of commuters relying on buses, rail and ferries to get them to work every day. Walkability is also a big factor though, being able to leave the car at home to get to nearby attractions like markets, shops and cafes makes an area really desirable.
Not everyone loves the idea of travelling into an inner city to have dinner, see a movie or catch-up for drinks, so residential areas that also boast great local cafes, bars or theatres are always popular. As are those with great famiy entertainment options such as playgrounds, sports grounds, libraries and cinemas.
Being close to the shops is not just convenient it can be a drawcard that gets people to visit a neighbourhood. Weekend markets are popular neighbourhood attractions, as are large-scale shopping centres, supermarkets, and unique local boutiques.
This weekend, why not look around your local neighbourhood and see what makes your area special. It’s great to be aware of the major selling points in your location, and if you’re interested in buying in a particular area, why not see how it stacks up in the desirability stakes? If you're looking to buy in an area completely new to you your Harcourts Twiss-Keir sales consultant will have a good knowlege of the local area and will be able to answer questions about a neighbourhood.
Recently, we celebrated our Harcourts end of financial year awards at the Wigram Airforce Museum. The breakfast function is to celebrate the success and hard work of the Harcourts salespeople in the Canterbury region over the previous 12 months.
Competition is strong, particularly as Harcourts market share in the greater Canterbury market is well in advance of 40%. In a New Zealand context Harcourts in Christchurch is seen as the bench mark against which all other markets compare. Twiss-Keir and Four Seasons provided some outstanding results and it is worth mentioning a few.
Harcourts NZ has been awarded a Reader’s Digest Quality Service Gold award in real estate sales.
The annual awards are decided via a robust survey by market research agency, Catalyst. Fifteen hundred respondents were asked to nominate a service provider in up to 41 categories, including real estate sales. To qualify to vote on a category, respondents must have used a service provider from that industry.
Harcourts CEO Chris Kennedy says winning the award is a great validation of the high value its sales consultants place on offering great service to clients, culminating in a great sales result, and of the hard work they do to achieve that.
“It is really satisfying to know the public recognise the expertise and high service offered by our team. “The Gold Quality Service Award sits nicely alongside the Reader’s Digest Most Trusted Award we’ve held since 2013.”
Readers Digest says it is confident that the results of this annual poll are the truly accurate measurement of New Zealand consumer sentiment in 2018. Survey respondents were asked to rank their experience on the listed companies according to these questions: Was an individual customer experience provided? Was a genuine insight into the customer's needs demonstrated? Was dealing with the company quick and easy? Was the customer's expectation met and, even better, exceeded?
REINZ have just released the latest sales data for our Christchurch market relating to February 2018. The results show some interesting aspects that, if taken out of context, could be misinterpreted. The raw figures indicate there were 554 residential sales in Christchurch in February 2018, $453,000 was the median sale value and 47 days was the average time it took each property to sell.
In comparison February 2017 sales statistics were 540 residential sales, $452,000 was the median sale value, with an average sale time of 37 days from list date to sale date. From these figures we can see that sales volumes have been very consistent year-on-year 554 vs 540 and the medium sale price is virtually identical as well.
These two indices support what I have been saying for several months now, our local market is very steady and has favoured neither buyers or sellers for quite some time. Prices have remained remarkably steady with minor monthly fluctuations recorded depending on sales activity for that specific month. We currently have a good steady stable Christchurch market, sitting between the peak of the economic boom of 2007 and the lows recorded following the quakes in 2010/11.
What is interesting is that the days to sell has lengthened in the past year from 37 to 47 days on average. Some commentators will no doubt say this is a result of a slowing market or some such other reason they have heard about.
Whereas I think it has a far simpler explanation and it relates more to a perceived change in the best sale method by the public and perhaps some of the consultants here in Christchurch.
As a city, Christchurch has for quite some time been regarded as the auction capital of New Zealand and a large proportion of our listed stock has been promoted and sold via this method of sale. But for some inexplicable reason the volume of stock listed as an auction has dropped. The volume of listings is only slightly lower when comparing year to year, but more significantly the percentage of the listings being sold by auction has dropped significantly.
Looking at Harcourts figures in Christchurch, 40% of all listings in February 2017 were for sale by auction. Whereas this year, February 2018 only 30% were listed as an auction and this scenario has been a trend for the last few months now. What is even more intriguing this is not isolated to Christchurch but is a trend seen throughout New Zealand.
When you factor in that fewer vendors have been choosing to auction in recent times, then the result has been that property transactions have taken longer to conclude. Quite simply if your preferred property is not in an auction campaign that requires a buyer to “act”, then buyers are free to submit conditional offers, allowing themselves more time to do their due diligence and so the average time to sell gets longer. The property sales are still happening, just the average time to sale is extended. I don’t believe the change from 37 to 47 days represents anything more than the fact that more properties are in the “conditional sale” period now than there has been previously.
Why then would this be happening?
Once again, I believe there is a simple answer, the owners selling property have been used to a stronger more confident market over recent years and as the effects of Government and banking policy have slowed down (but not stifled) market activity, potential vendors have perceived that there might be a better alternative to auction. There is no doubt that Harcourts as a company and a brand promote and prefer auction as the best and fairest method of sale.
After all – buyers get to see who else is interested on the day, who else is bidding and as a buyer you can decide whether you are prepared to pay a little bit more than the next person or not. It is, I believe, a lot fairer than the ‘closed offers’ one chance’ scenario that might otherwise prevail with other methods of sale. As a ‘cash buyer’ you get the first opportunity to bid on and buy your preferred home, while from the vendor’s perspective you get the opportunity to present your property to the ‘cash buyers’ first and achieve a confirmed sale on the terms that you prefer. If there are no cash buyers on the day, then all interested parties now get the opportunity to make an offer immediately ‘after auction’ be it conditional or cash.
What could be fairer? This is the reason that so many auction properties are signed up in the days immediately following the nominated auction date. In the trade we call this “stage three”. From a vendor’s perspective an auction is as much about the process, as it is about the price. The process to achieve the best possible price, in the best possible time frame.
I would advise anyone looking to sell to talk to their local Harcourts consultant about the auction method of sale. It’s fair, it’s transparent, it allows some control, it will generate the desired result in most instances compared to other methods and I believe there is an economic benefit (but that’s another story). Yes - it costs a little more, but I firmly believe the benefits significantly out way the perceived disadvantages. Talk to your Harcourts consultant today – there is a reason they are among the best at this method of sale.
Jim Davis (South Island Regional Manager)
Mortgage brokers are pointing to early signs of the major banks opening the door to more low-deposit borrowers in the wake of an easing in home-loan restrictions.
On January 1 the Reserve Bank increased the cap on banks from 10 per cent to 15 per cent of lending to home buyers with a deposit of less than 20 per cent. Investors also received a slight reprieve with the equity requirements reducing from 40 per cent to 35 per cent with 5 per cent of lending to investors allowed outside of that.
John Bolton, managing director of Squirrel Mortgages, said he had noticed two big changes since the lending restrictions on the banks were eased. "One - everyone is open. Last year for periods it was just really hard to do anything."
Last year brokers reported having to go from bank to bank to see who had the capacity to lend with it changing on a weekly basis depending on what lending they had approved.
Bolton said the cap increase from 10 to 15 per cent was not huge but it did alleviate capacity issues. Bolton also said the second change he had noticed was an increase in interest from first-home buyers.
"There is a lot of enquiry around at the moment. We are looking at a lot of applications in that over 80 per cent space."
Government is extending the amount of time for which investment properties must be held before their owners can avoid capital gains tax - despite a warning that it could be bad news for renters. Revenue Minister Stuart Nash confirmed the "bright-line" test would be extended from two years to five in legislation working through Parliament.
"The extension of the previous government's bright-line test will help dampen property speculation and make homes more affordable," Nash said.He said reducing speculative demand would help to improve affordability for owner-occupiers.
But in an impact assessment, Inland Revenue and Treasury officials warned there was a risk of "lock-in" as a result of the change, which could reduce the number of dwellings for sale. "If the fall in the number of dwellings for sale exceeds the reduced demand from speculators and investors then this could lead to increased competition for the housing stock available for purchase for a period of time."
They said there was a risk that rents could rise if the law change reduced the number of investors buying and renting out property. "A higher level of home-ownership among former renters is unlikely to completely offset the pressure on rental prices. This is because owner-occupied homes typically have a lower occupancy rate than rental homes, so the reduction in the supply of rental housing (caused by some investors exiting the market) will probably outweigh the reduction in demand for rentals (as some renters purchase homes)."
Gareth Kiernan, chief forecaster at Infometrics, said the rule change would make a difference. A two-year limit would stop people who were flicking properties on in a speculative boom, but two years was not a long time to have to plan to hold a property. "With five years, that's quite a long-term decision you're making there."
Cameron Bagrie, of Bagrie Economics, said it should be seen in the context of wider structural changes to the market as the Government changed migration settings, reassessed the tax system, and pushed ahead with its building project KiwiBuild, as the banks' attitude to lending changed. "There's a lot of uncertainty in regard to how that's going to impact the market."
The extension from two to five years would make a difference, he said, but it had to be seen in context.
Licensed Business Owner of Harcourts Twiss-Keir Realty
Licensed Business Owner of Harcourts Twiss-Keir Realty