Journalist Laura Henderson takes us to the twin islands of New Zealand, where many mythological films have been filmed on picturesque landscapes, and this magical land is indeed as beautiful as the images shown in the movies. In ‘The Lord of the Rings’, Frodo Baggins and his companions set out on a quest to return the ring to its rightful place. The movie was filmed in New Zealand, the home of producer Peter Jackson. Now buyers are on a mission, no less than Frodo's in the film, to this island in the heart of the earth, in search of luxury and out-of-this-world elegant residences. Where epic dream mansions are no longer fantasies and illusions, but real.
Touch of Spice is a resort hotel in Queenstown, New Zealand that rents out luxury vacation homes while also offering a bespoke experience. Owner Jacqui Spice believes that today's visitors and potential property buyers want to enjoy a charming, trendy, and pristine experience."When I first started this business, it was rare to hear about $1,500-a-night vacation rentals, but now, for the high-end clientele, it's a lot more affordable," she says. "It's not unusual to charge $3,000 a night."Jacqui calls trendy Queens, "A playground for the rich, who likes to catch fresh crawfish here and boil them for dinner. Come and go in a private jet or be helicoptered to Milford Sound. In many cases, visitors come here on holiday and then decide to buy a house and settle down here."Some might argue that as a rural island in a former British colony, it's lifeless. Jacqui's statement tries to dispel that prejudice: "The islands are getting more sophisticated here, with lots of places to eat, malls and bars. New Zealand is no longer just sheep and rolling hills."
Many overseas buyers are looking for value for money and a safe place to live, so house prices in New Zealand are rising along with prices from Australia, China, the UK, the US, and Europe. According to Chris Barnes, from northern estate agent Bayleys Wellington, some people buy spacious mansions as family homes, while others buy condos just for investment purposes. Chris thinks Wellington's house prices are affordable compared to other cities, and the very low exchange rate makes it easier to get a mortgage (4% exchange rate, which can remain unchanged for 2 to 3 years). Despite a recent announcement that loans to overseas buyers are to be restricted to prevent local buyers from being unable to afford a home, Chris is sure that there are always banks willing to lend, so overseas buyers need not worry. Alison revealed that villas with their own gardens typically cost between $200-$2.5 million. A large villa with a great view is usually $4 million and higher. High-end beach houses can cost up to $10 million. Katapuna is also a condominium center, with prices ranging from $850,000 to $2.5 million, and Alison recently sold a home for $7 million, the price of a well-equipped penthouse suite sold. Jim Rohrstaff of Legacy Realty Partners, another Auckland agent, says the typical properties international buyers will buy are located in suburban areas such as Remuera, Herne Bay, Parnell, and St Mary's Bay, all of which are close to good schools, restaurants, and businesses."Sea view properties are also a focus for international buyers, such as Te Arai, where the new Tara Iti Golf facility is a 90-minute drive from Auckland." Jim adds, "You could buy a piece of land here for $2-$4 million and be free to be in New Zealand to build the beach-view home of your dreams now."Daniel Coulson from housing agent Bayley, based in the Auckland office, recommends Waiheke Island, a 40-minute ferry ride from the business district. "It's close to the city, but with a secluded feel," he says. Riptide Island is sheltered by the Hauraki Gulf in its geographic location, so it has a unique climate with plentiful vineyards, sandy beaches, cafes, and festivals all year round.
Christchurch (New Zealand city)
The East Coast town ---- Christchurch was hit by an earthquake 5 years ago, and many people have started to move to the rebuilt town because of the high prices in Auckland. Rosemarie de Jong from Bayleys said, "You'll get a better price here than in the north, only $2 million for a nice family home in a prime suburban location.”If you don't mind, you could also consider buying a cheaper house that was damaged by the earthquake. Some houses have cracks in the walls from the earthquake, and these can be repaired with insurance coverage.“You should familiarize yourself with the buying process in New Zealand. Sixty percent of properties are sold at auction, which means it's rare to see a price change after the sale or a last-minute breach of contract," said Daniel. Daniel stresses, "There is a 10% deposit upfront and all sales are unconditional cash transactions."Buying a home in New Zealand is definitely like taking a magical journey in ‘The Lord of the Rings’ alongside Gandalf The White - and live in all the luxury that you've seen on the big screen. It is said that time is the best healer and the German capital, Berlin, is proof of this. Property expert Laura Henderson finds that Berlin is fast becoming one of Europe's most popular countries and is seeing an influx of foreign buyers. In this month's column, I will analyze the latest developments in the German real estate market and disclose what you need to know about buying a property in Berlin.
This article is contributed by Juwai Columnist Laura Henderson