Category Archives: Settling down in Christchurch

How is it to live in Christchurch and in New Zealand?

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Christchurch is a vibrant city with a lot of different nationalities. Many people have moved here for a reason. The reasons differ, but everyone want’s to get a good life.

In the following blog posts I will try to explain how it is to live here and what differs from other places. If you are interested in a special topic please leave a message and I will try to explain my view.

Better work life balance. I have heard that from many people. Kiwis are in general not keen on working overtime. So for you that is used of working 60 hours/week. It is possible to have a change. But there are companies here that have the motto ”work hard play hard attitude”. So take care so that you don’t end up in the same situation again.

Weather: Since it is one of the most discussed topics in my home country (Sweden). I have to bring it up. We are in the middle of winter right now. The winter in Christchurch is most often cold nights (some nights we have frost), but in daytime we can have up to 17-18 degrees when there’s no cloud. Some days it is cold the hold day (between 0-10 degrees). Not to bad. We have had snow two times, but it didn’t last so long (a few hours). One thing I can mention is that the weather can change very fast. We have also had some rainfall with heavy wind. You don’t want to be outside then.
Even if the weather is quite mild I have never been freezing so much indoors as here. The houses are in general very bad isolated (even if our house is built year 2000).

Single glassing and very poor insulation are common.

The nature: The nature is fantastic, with very nice views and a lot of things to see. We have only seen a small part of NZ, but I like what I have seen. Fantastic. Plants that we are used to have indoor are growing outside here.
There is only one thing that disturbs us. Most of the country is farm and livestock land. There is not much left of the original fauna such as trees. The trees that exist are most often planted and don’t belong to the natural fauna.

To be continued….

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Looking at properties in Christchurch

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.

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