Finding homes for expats in NZ

unnamed-1Bayleys’ waterfront, tourism and special projects specialist, Chester Rendell, says while New Zealanders were found in most far-flung corners of the globe, his network of expat Kiwis were predominantly located in the UK, Europe, Singapore, Hong Kong, Australia, Canada and the US.

“Their ‘wants’ can be quite varied – from residential and commercial investment property, through to personal-use waterfront real estate. The common theme among all the expats I work with though is their intention to one day return ‘home’,” Chester Rendell said.

“Some are away for only a couple of years, the majority are working internationally for between seven to 11 years, and I work with a few who have been abroad now for 16 years or more, although they all come back to New Zealand on a very regular basis… sometimes at least once a year.

“Property is seen by expats as a ‘passive investment’ – that is to say they buy an asset, put in place a property manager, and take a hands-off approach. Alternatively with waterfront property, ex-pats tend to entrust the management of the dwelling to close members of the family who usually enjoy the benefit of having access to a lovely property for little or no cost in return for undertaking maintenance duties.”

Mr Rendell says by selectively buying waterfront property when it came to the market, expat owners effectively ensured they didn’t have to wait for the right seaside or lakefront property to become available when they eventually returned to New Zealand.

“In essence, they are buying for the future. That future could be a few years down the track or it could be a decade… but whenever they come ‘home’ their ‘dream’ is ready and waiting for immediate use.”

Auckland-based Mr Rendell said that for secondary homes or waterfront properties, expats tended to have a preference for the Bay of Islands, the central lakes district of Rotorua and Taupo, and the Central Otago towns of Queenstown and Wanaka.

“For employment opportunities they are drawn to the cities, but for leisure it is definitely the peripheral regions,” he says.

“The expat property sector hasn’t changed that much since Kiwis really began travelling en-masse in the 1970s.

“When the Global Financial Crisis bit hard, many stayed abroad and hunkered down, while retaining their New Zealand assets. Some came home – to their investment properties and waterfront homes they had purchased previously. Now that things have picked up the only thing that has really changed is the frequency they are returning home for holidays.”

Kea works with Bayleys to help expats and friends of New Zealand to find their potential future in New Zealand. For more information, contact Chester Rendell at