We where very lucky to find a house to rent, and it is big enough for our family. And it is not to far away from the city centre. To rent a house in Christchurch is very expensive due to the lack of houses. The earthquakes and the on-going repair have created a huge demand of temporary housing.
We are thinking of buying a house but it seems to be even more to consider than to what was needed back home. In Christchurch they have done a tremendous job to investigate and categorize the areas to reduce the risk of injury to people and damage to homes in any future earthquakes. There are green and red zones where red zones mean that land repair would be prolonged and uneconomic. Land in the green zone is generally considered suitable for residential construction but some properties have experienced liquefaction and considerable settlement during the series of Canterbury earthquakes.
Map of the zones are found here: http://www.rebuildchristchurch.co.nz/content/land-zone-map
The technical categories describe how the land is expected to perform in future significant earthquakes and guide the selection of appropriate foundation solution (TC1-TC3).
Description of the Technical categories can be found here: http://cera.govt.nz/residential-green-zone-technical-categories/overview
The technical categories only apply if foundation repairs or rebuilding is required – there is no general requirement to upgrade house foundations. If in future you rebuild or substantially modify the house the technical categories would apply.
We have been looking at a property, which was categorized in TC3. An investigation of the property shows that the foundation has been damaged and should be rebuilt. If you choose to not rebuild the foundation then you wouldn’t get any insurance and hence no loan from the bank.
And you also have to consider if the schools are good in the area. In New Zealand you will belong to a school depending on where you are living. Schools with good reputation also lead to higher prices in certain areas.
Some areas are considered to be “good areas” and of course that will reflect on the price of the properties in that area.
Most properties are sold on auctions or by negotiation. Negotiation means that you can give an offer for the property, and real estate agencies are not allowed to tell the amount others have offered. In this case there wouldn’t be any bidding. Auction is probably to get around the rules and get bidding on the properties.
We will continue to look at properties and hopefully we will find what we are looking for.