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Thread: Canada to NZ 2018 - 1 Year on. A few more tidbits...

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Mar 2016

    Default Canada to NZ 2018 - 1 Year on. A few more tidbits...

    I can't believe it's been a year! I wanted to share a few new things and touch on a few I've already commented on here:

    I could write pages on housing as that's our biggest pain point right now. I'll instead try to summarize. This is for Christchurch and the Selwyn/Waimak districts:

    Housing - Rents:
    - Current rent $530/wk same nice-ish post quake townhouse as we had last year (includes pet charges for our dog!).
    - We looked in June 2019 and rent was flat or even dropping. Decided to stay though as I am only 7 min from work.
    - Ok rental stock in ChCh.
    - Quality really varies though.
    - Market band for us was/is ($450-$550/wk). Plenty of options in that space.

    Housing - Buying used (Residential).
    - We had to wait a year to buy (Foreign Buyers restrictions)
    - Prices where we found stock: $400k to $550k.
    - We easily qualified for a mortgage.
    - Attended about 20 open homes. Quality of pre-quake homes can be dodgy. Both in original construction but also in quake repairs.
    - ~2 were IMHO tear-downs. All but 1 were 'meh'. We really struggled to find value and something interesting.
    - Real estate agents: comparable to Canada in quality/attitudes. Some shifty, some ok. No buyers agent in NZ though. (although you can pay someone to represent you, or, just use a lawyer).
    - 0 offers made.

    Housing - Buying new (Residential).
    - Ok stock but 'meh' again on style, layout, location etc.
    - Price varies of course: $450k to $650k+ for average homes.
    - Big builders are asking, what we think, a 10-15% premium over a similar size/kit-out small shop build.
    - Pays to shop around on everything here from windows to kitchens. Good smaller builders available in ChCh, again pays to shop around.
    - Not many lot options left anywhere (land banking?)
    - Real estate agents: basically sales people for new builds.
    - Best mix/availability: Rolleston
    - 0 offers made.

    Housing - (Lifestyle).
    - Typically 10 ac (4 ha) or less.
    - New ones/recent builds are $700K to $1M+. Not much stock at the moment so little choice and starting to be out of our budget.
    - Old ones are $450k to $700k and, for the most part, aren't great in quality.
    - 25 open homes attended, 1 offer made. Not accepted.
    - Almost no land for sale in Selwyn or Waimak to build (land banking again, or simply nothing left).
    - Priced two builds. One was nuts, $100k+ just to get a driveway and power into a build site and then you can start. Another was okay, more turn key.
    - Lots viewed: 20. Offers made 1. Vendor was pushy and we backed out. Lot is still for sale:-)
    - Real estate agents: Some crafty cats when the stakes get higher. Agents represent the sellers in paid for us to do our research on the lots and the local market.
    - Watch out for the GST! Something quirky here about buying blocks that are GST registered. The language and marketing can be murky. The buyer can be on the hook for a 15% hit after the sale. We did our due-diligence on the offers made though...via a lawyer...which was surprisingly reasonable (few hundred bucks to-date).

    Jobs - both my wife and I are working now. She's had two jobs, myself just the one. All three jobs did not match the job descriptions nor what the employers described. I would have asked more questions and talked to more people but I did my interviews over Skype and had an offer before leaving Canada. Pay is lower than Canada for similar work.

    Pregnancy - so not planned...but we're having our first kidlet in early Jan. We could not find a public mid wife (what NZ uses as primary carer)...because...all the mid wives take summer vacation and are 'booked up' at that time. So we were SOL. It wasn't fun. We had to go the private route with obstetrics care (They have their own group of mid wives who do work through Xmas.) Baby will cost about $5k through the private system so not terrible but a bit of a burn. So far the care has been good.

    Climate - solid win. Winter was a joke compared to pretty much anywhere in Canada.

    Traffic - another win (in Cantebury at least). Traffic jams are rare and even then - they're like a normal drive home in Vancouver.

    Locals/Kiwis - generally friendly but clicky. I'm hopeful the kid will help us break into some social circles. We have not met any couple friends yet, although we're on the quiet side and spend most of our time trying to get our own place.

    Would we do it again?'s not that much better than Canada (for us). We're starting to miss our friends and family a bit (Even though everyone is spread out back home) but we feel we're in a better life place now than we were 1-2 years ago. So win for that...and I'm going to be a dad! Double win!

    All for now. Hope this helps someone.

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Feb 2008


    Thanks so much for coming back with your further news.

    And congratulations.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    May 2012
    NZ (Auckland; via Canada)


    Great update, fellow hoser!

    NZ has a small town vibe everywhere: everyone who grew up here--even in Auckland--seems to know one another directly or by reputation. It can be both forgiving and intolerant at the same time. People who thrive in small time drama do disproportionately well here

    At least you can take a day trip boarding or skiing. I miss my local mountain in Vancouver

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Jun 2015


    Congrats on settling in so well! We also moved from Vancouver 2.5 years ago and winter in Auckland is like a Junuary! Aucklander complained that it rains a lot this August but nothing compared to rainy dark Vancouver! Today is sunny again and just out for a coastal walk, it is paradise here ... got kale, lemons in the garden, veggie and fruits just grow happily here

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Jan 2019


    I think the Canada>NZ experience will vary a lot depending on where you come from and where you go.

    I'm from the Vancouver area, have lived for a few years in a smaller centre in BC. After a couple years of that, swore off living in small cities. great outdoor access but a bit boring and slow economically.

    Going Vancouver>Auckland was a nice step down in size for me. Enough amenities, less traffic & more relaxed pace.

    Christchurch was a no for me due to the cold, wasn't keen to leave Canada for somewhere just as cold. & Wellington weather makes Vancouver weather look pleasant...

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