During the noughties, New Zealand experienced a large surge in immigration – thanks in part to the factor known as “The Lord of the Rings Effect”. Largely filmed on location in New Zealand, the country became as big a part of the movie franchise as any of the actors, placing New Zealand firmly in the global spotlight for the first time. Suddenly, millions of people from all around the world became aware of just how beautiful New Zealand is. Tourists began visiting the country in droves, and as more holidaymakers entered the country, more people decided they’d like to stay and live in the country.
Fast forward, and New Zealand is now welcoming record levels of immigrants. While the country’s idyllic scenery is still a draw – New Zealand’s starring role in the Chronicles of Narnia films and, more recently, The Hobbit trilogy, have kept it in the spotlight – it is far from the country’s only attraction.
A way of life
The majority of immigrants who choose to live in New Zealand undoubtedly do so to take advantage of the country’s much-feted lifestyle.
New Zealand has a well-deserved reputation for offering its residents a slower-paced, more relaxed way of life – particularly when it comes to work. It’s very much a country where the mantle ‘working to live’ is placed firmly above that of ‘living to work’.
Sport and leisure
A major emphasis of Kiwi life is almost always placed on putting leisure time first. And when it comes to ways of spending this increased leisure time, the choices are endless. New Zealand likes to think of itself as something of an adventure playground – indeed, adrenaline-fuelled activities, such as bungee jumping and zorbing both originated in the country – while pursuits like kayaking, white-water rafting, and hiking (or trekking as it is more commonly known in New Zealand) are all hugely popular.
Then, of course, there is rugby union – seen by some (well, most Kiwis actually) as a national religion. When rugby season is in full flow, if New Zealanders aren’t actually playing the sport, then you can be fairly certain they’ll be watching it.
More serene pastimes exist, too. New Zealand has many scenic delights: there are few better ways to spend a day than deciding to take a gentle stroll in the fantastic landscapes that abound no matter where in the country you choose to settle.
Working to live
Yet, for all its lifestyle benefits, a majority of immigrants in the country still need to work – and getting a visa usually depends on it. Unless you have family already living in the country, then the New Zealand immigration system will almost certainly require you to have a job or a job offer in order to qualify for a visa, meaning that not everyone will find immigrating to New Zealand a straightforward process.
Over the following pages, we’ll be looking at many aspects of living in New Zealand and we will introduce you to some of the key visas that will hopefully enable you to one day sample the highly desirable Kiwi lifestyle for yourself.
The New Zealand Property Market
A quick glance at the New Zealand national property price trends over the past few years paints a picture of rapid growth, leading numerous property analysts to warn that the country is in the midst of an unsustainable property bubble. However, closer analysis of this data reveals that on the whole the price rises are confined largely to the country’s most populous city, Auckland, with Christchurch also seeing fairly strong growth. Elsewhere in the country, property price growth has either remained flat or increased at a sustainable level, meaning bargains are still to be had.
National average house price: New Zealand Dollars 550,000
Lowest average price: West Coast – New Zealand Dollars 208,500
Highest average price: Auckland – New Zealand Dollars 870,000
Price Source: Real Estate Institute of New Zealand (REINZ) January 2018)
Getting a mortgage in New Zealand
Max 70% loan to value
Max term 30 years
New NZD 100,000 minimum loan
Rates from 5.3%
Eligibility criteria for mortgages are quite good, and you can still generally borrow up to 70 percent of the value of a property and the minimum loan is NZD 100,000. Rates currently start at 5.3 percent. Banks in New Zealand tend only to lend up to a level where the property can be serviced by New Zealand-based income, but will make exceptions for high income earners working in strong industries in developed countries. Income earned overseas will be reduced by 20 percent for exchange rate fluctuations.
16.8 people per km2
New Zealand Dollar (NZD)
Average property price:
(May 2015; source www.qv.co.nz)
Average annual salary
(June 2015; source www.stats.gov.nz)
Average temperature in Celsius
Fun facts about New Zealand
- New Zealand is one of the world’s least populated countries
- New Zealand was the first country to give women the right to vote in 1893
- The first ever Rugby World Cup was won by New Zealand in 1987
- There are no snakes in New Zealand
- No part of the country is more than 80 miles away from the sea
Deciding on your preferred location and property type
Not sure where to settle? Here’s a quick round-up of what New Zealand’s most popular regions have to offer…
New Zealand’s most populous region, Auckland, is dominated by the city of the same name. Auckland is the most prosperous economically and the country’s financial capital. The region also benefits from an oceanic climate, with warm, humid summers and mild, damp winters.
A map of New Zealand
Located in the geographic heart of New Zealand at the top of the South Island, Nelson vies with neighbouring Marlborough for the title of New Zealand’s sunniest region. Extremely scenic, Nelson is surrounded by mountains on three sides and acts as the gateway to the picturesque Abel Tasman National Park. The Nelson economy is largely based on the horticulture, tourism and forestry industries.
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