Thursday, December 21, 2006

The Kiwi Difference

by Osman Parvez
----

 Now that I've spent a little time in New Zealand (panoramic shot), I've started noticing a few differences. Like Boulder, people seem to pay a lot of attention to real estate, judging by the local newspaper and casual conversation.

I know you've been wondering, so yes, in some places it does indeed look like the Shire from Lord of the Rings. No hobbits though, sorry.

10 differences between homes in Boulder and New Zealand


1. Heating Systems. Homes in New Zealand typically do not have a central heating system. There is no furnace, boiler, or baseboard electric. Instead, many have a fireplace or woodstove in the living room, used to burn off the chill on cool evenings. There's also plenty of interior doors to "compartmentalize" the house for better efficiency.

2. Roofing. The roofs here are mostly constructed of treated steel. A few homes have terra cotta tile roofs, but the majority are "colored steel." It's precoated at the factory, and frequently pressed into shapes that look like tile or traditional shingles. These roofs are designed to last 100+ years.



3. Windows. Double pane windows are rare in New Zealand. Most are basic single pane variety. Newer homes use low E glass. The vast majority of window framing is metal. I asked a friend of the family who works in the glass business why there are no vinyl windows. Apparently, most vinyl windows don't hold up well to the harsh UV here. People don't trust them to last for years and years.



4. Doors. Like window frames, most doors are also painted steel or aluminum. They fit together very tightly and there's no expanding/contracting of doors and frames due to humidity.



5. Switches. Power plug outlets have built in switches, making it easy to disconnect the power without pulling the plug. That's right, no loose, worn out outlets.



6. Yard care. Kiwis seem to be excellent gardeners. I have yet to find a rundown, overgrown, weed choked yard. Doesn't happen. Even in the areas that we've visited which were not doing well economically, the yards were well tended to. Out in the countryside, the landscape is very pastoral with flocks of sheep and herds of cattle dotting the land.



7. Toilets. Most toilets in New Zealand have two flush options. You can choose a half flush for light duty. But for those bigger holiday loads, I recommend you go for the power of a full flush.



8. Real estate signs. The ones here in New Zealand are much better than what we use in the states. They're about 2x larger, printed on corrugated plastic, and feature several interior/exterior pictures as well as the key selling points of the house. Very smart.



9. Sheep. If you have a small spot of land, apparently it's completely normal to bring in a flock of sheep to have them keep your field down. Ag zoning not required. There's a little flock in our front yard right now. A few days ago, mobile shearers (called Shear Pleasure) came by in their little van and sheared them of their winter wool.



10. Developments. There are apparently no mega developments in New Zealand. No Pultes, KB Homes, or Lennar. It's even unusual for a developer to build 4 or 5 homes in a row, at least here in New Plymouth. The vast majority of new homes are "one offs." According to Sandra Tylee, who works in mortgage lending, only 10% or so of new homes built are spec projects. The vast majority are custom built for the land owner.



----
Like this analysis?    Subscribe to our client research report.     
Want to get blog updates via email?  Click HERE.       
Ready to buy or sell?  Schedule an appointment or call 303.746.6896. 
You can also like our Facebook page or follow us on Twitter.

As always, your referrals are deeply appreciated.  

--
The ideas and strategies described in this blog are the opinion of the writer and subject to business, economic, and competitive uncertainties.   We strongly recommend conducting rigorous due diligence and obtaining professional advice before buying or selling real estate. 

3 comments:

  1. Thanks for interesting observations. What kind of a climate do they enjoy over there? What do they use for siding in the typical SFH? How about basements? Did you see a lot of brick/stone buildings? What's the general crime level? I hope you don't mind the # of questions ...:-)
    Have a great vacation.
    B747

    ReplyDelete
  2. I bet they don't have 3 feet of snow, either!

    Interesting post. Safe travels!

    ReplyDelete
  3. Climate is very temperate. Warm most of the year. Occasional frost in the winter months but no snow/deep freeze.

    Lots of brick/stone homes. Mostly brick. No basements. Apparently they're quite rare.

    I'm meeting with the head Re/Max broker tomorrow. Will have another post shortly.

    Crime is hard to gauge. Apparently youth crime is a problem. Drug use too. But not sure if it's any better or worse than the States. Here's an indicator. I've seen many young children walking home after school without adults. Seems pretty safe to me.

    ReplyDelete