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New Zealand Winter Home Update #2

Thursday 30 June, 2005 

Good morning

Have you noticed the days getting shorter, yet?  Alas, the summer solstice is a week gone, and while the days remain gloriously long and warm, the daylight is already imperceptibly dwindling by a minute or two each day.

Which, of course, makes us all think some more about following the sun - both in terms of the warmth and in terms of the daylight it offers.  The northern hemisphere has longer hours of daylight between the two equinoxes in March and September, and then, for the other six months, the southern hemisphere enjoys more daylight.

It is the long days that draw me down to NZ in our winter more than the warmer weather.  Oh yes, the good (but variable and always 'interesting') weather is another plus, but it is those long summer evenings, spent outside on the deck, enjoying the clear blue sky, fresh air, and perhaps one or two birds still up and singing that really encapsulates what I'm personally seeking to enjoy.

But, enough of me.  More about New Zealand, and more about you....

Can I please ask you for some further help in refining the Winter Home concept.  I've prepared a second survey about some new issues that are evolving.

If you'd be as kind as to send in your thoughts through this survey, it will be very helpful in ensuring the final concept meets all our varying goals as best is possible.

While quality of life is probably the main reason for considering a NZ Winter Home, we're all of us also concerned about the financial implications of investing a six figure sum in NZ real estate.

My crystal ball is cloudy and no more reliable than anyone else's, and I can't start to guess at what might happen to property prices and exchange rates in NZ.  But, if the past is any predictor of the future, I can tell you that NZ property prices continue their extended run up in value.

Does this mean prices are about to turn around and drop down again?  Experts are divided on this opinion, and this article in NZ's leading daily paper, the NZ Herald, gives helpful recent coverage of the topic.  Key quote :

Experts see the bubble gradually losing hot air rather than bursting

 - -  a comment I find reassuring.

In broader terms, it is accurate to say that property pricing generally goes upwards without limit.  There might be short term fluctuations, but longer term, property is a reliable and safe investment.

You shouldn't consider buying a NZ home as a short term speculative investment, but you could consider it as a longer term investment that should at least protect your capital and may hopefully see it appreciate at or above the rate of inflation and at or above comparable rates of return you'd get on low risk investments elsewhere.

All that, and a lovely place to live for some of every year, too!

Reader Mary sent in an interesting article on the front page of the Wall St Journal, 16 June, which discussed the increasing globalization of property investment and how international buyers are seeking out 'below market' priced property wherever they can find it in the world.  NZ came number 5 on the list of 27 countries in terms of the appreciation of home prices.  Here's their list of the top ten :

Rank

Country

One year change

Three year change

   1

South Africa

   28%

   95%

   2

China (Shanghai)

   27%

   68%

   3

Spain

   17%

   63%

   4

Australia

   - 3%

   56%

   5

New Zealand

   16%

   55%

   6

United Kingdom

   11%

   50%

   7

France

   15%

   48%

   8

Ireland

   13%

   42%

   9

Canada

   10%

   31%

 10

United States

   11%

   29%


Have you marked your calendars for our NZ Tour?  If you are thinking of joining us for this 'fact finding mission' (and hopefully very pleasant vacation experience in general), then you'll need to plan to start your travels from the US to NZ on or before 24 October, returning back from Auckland on or after the evening of 10 November.

The itinerary is 95% finalized, and the cost is looking to be US$2295 per person, share twin, for the NZ ground tour, including all accommodation, breakfasts, coach, train, and ferry touring, some guided sightseeing, admissions to attractions, and special dinners.

You'll need to add an airfare to/from Auckland and also a flight between Rotorua and Queenstown on 29 October to this price.  A web page for this should go online tomorrow - I'll feature it in my regular newsletter tomorrow night.

Lastly, here's a reason to encourage the single men amongst us to spend more time in New Zealand.

I hope to see you in New Zealand - if not in October, then when we become neighbors

              David M Rowell aka The Travel Insider

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