Author: Martin Kovacs
Buying a property in the heart of Auckland or Wellington is a distant prospect for most first home buyers (FHBs), however it may still be possible to hang your hat close to the action. Around the country, there are many home and land packages on offer near major centres, for prices that are a lot more affordable than inner-city pads.
A home and land package can potentially provide comparatively cheap and convenient entry into the property market. Many are available at or below median prices, while also providing geographical proximity to urban centres.
In the following guide, we take a look at home and land packages, some of the benefits they provide, and what’s happening in the property market in different areas of New Zealand.
What are home and land packages?
There are a range of companies offering home and land packages. There is great variety in the locations available and the different types of home designs on offer, all tailored for different budgets.
As the name suggests, a home and land package comprises both a new home and the land upon which it is built. These packages are typically available as a block of land that can be paired with a preferred home design (with a range of standard and customisable designs available).
Many of these packages are available in newly established residential estates. These often provide access to a range of public facilities, which can be an attractive proposition for FHBs and young families. Potential benefits including:
- Design customisation – the ability to choose a design that caters to your requirements.
- Affordability – generally cheaper prices than custom-built homes.
- Simplicity – rather than searching separately for land and a builder, it is one process.
Different companies offer a range of deals, and it’s important to confirm what is included. Certain features, such as landscaping, driveways and fencing, are sometimes not included in a package.
As always, it’s worthwhile doing your research, shopping around and weighing up the different deals on offer before making a decision.
Buying on a budget
Finding a three-bedroom home and land package under $500,000 will be extremely difficult in some of the major urban areas of New Zealand. So FHBs on a small budget will need to broaden their scope.
To help FHBs in their search, the following overview of what’s on offer in different regions is a guide for where to start looking!
The market in many areas of Tamaki Makaurau is prohibitive for most FHBs. Cheaper properties are few and far between in the Auckland region, which comfortably ranks as the most expensive in New Zealand.
However, for FHBs on a budget, yet still keen on purchasing a property within commuting distance of the Auckland CBD, it may be a matter of looking further afield and weighing up the travel times and costs involved.
Property prices – according to the Real Institute of New Zealand’s (REINZ) monthly property report for June, the median house price for the Auckland region was $910,000, with Auckland City and North Shore City ranking as the most expensive districts ($1,060,000 and $1,000,000, respectively).
Meanwhile, at the other end of the price scale, the Franklin and Papakura districts both had a median price of $700,000, still comfortably above the national median price of $620,000.
Time to start looking – admittedly, securing a home and land package around $500,000 anywhere near Auckland City is going to be a stretch, and for FHBs it may be a matter of how far away is close enough.
With this in mind, Karaka and Papakura are two areas in the south that are potentially worth targeting, however packages in the $500,000 bracket will still likely be at a premium.
The Wellington region is the second most expensive region in New Zealand, however overall median costs are still well behind those in Auckland, so there is more scope for FHBs on a budget.
Still, securing a home and land package under $500,000 close to the Wellington CBD is a tough ask. FHBs focused on geographical proximity should be actively looking at what is on offer in nearby districts.
Property prices – according to REINZ, the median price for the Wellington region in May was $677,510. However the Wellington City district is well above the region’s median, posting a record high of $830,000, placing it among the nation’s most expensive places to live.
Indicative of the steep drop-off in prices outside Wellington City, the nearby Upper Hutt City and Lower Hutt City districts recorded markedly lower median prices (at $635,000 and $660,000, respectively).
Time to start looking – finding a home and land package under $500,000 in Wellington City is going to be difficult for FHBs. As a result, Upper Hutt City and Lower Hutt City offer more prospects.
Among potential areas to target are Trentham, in Upper Hutt City, and Taita, in Lower Hutt City. However it should be noted that many of the cheaper packages in these areas are still likely to be over the $500,000 mark.
While there can be a significant price difference from one district to another in the Canterbury region, the median price sits well below the national average.
For FHBs, the good news is that securing a home and land package under $500,000 within easy commuting distance of the Christchurch CBD should be feasible. Searching further afield may well uncover additional compelling prospects.
Property prices – REINZ figures show that for May the median price for the Canterbury region was $460,000, with Christchurch City unsurprisingly among the more expensive districts with a median price of $477,500, and the neighbouring Selwyn district leading the way at $560,000.
It’s also worth noting that there is a slight drop in median prices in the Waimakariri district ($452,000), another neighbouring district, well within commuting range to the Christchurch CBD.
Time to start looking – there is potential to secure a home and land package under $500,000 on the fringes of Christchurch City, and FHBs weighing up packages and proximity should also be focusing on what is on offer in neighbouring districts.
Rolleston and Lincoln in Selwyn are, potentially, two areas to focus on, where the cost for cheaper packages will likely be closer to $500,000. Kaiapoi and Woodend in Waimakariri could also be worth a look.
The Otago region offers varying prices, district by district. However its overall median price sits significantly below the national average; Dunedin is also comfortably below the average.
While finding a home and land package under $500,000 close to the Dunedin CBD will likely prove challenging, FHBs prepared to focus on surrounding areas may find a number of options within commuting distance.
Property prices – according to REINZ, the median price for the Otago region in May was $505,100, with the Dunedin City district slightly below this at $500,000. It goes without saying that the Queenstown-Lakes district ($950,000) was the most expensive district by some margin.
At the other end of the scale, the Clutha and Waitaki districts, which offer commuting possibilities to Dunedin, had median prices of $350,050 and $330,000, respectively.
Time to start looking – finding a home and land package under $500,000 on the fringes of Dunedin City could be feasible for FHBs. But as with other major centres, it’s also worthwhile canvassing options in surrounding districts.
Balclutha to the south of Dunedin, and Oamaru, to the north, involve a longer commute. However both areas offer up options for FHBs who are prepared to consider packages a little further afield.
With interest rates currently at historic lows, it’s never been a better time for FHBs. In our recent story, First Home Buyers: Top Advice from a Mortgage Expert, Glenn Stevenson, ANZ’s Head of Mortgages discusses what FHBs need to consider. And one of the main points he makes is that FHBs need to be realistic about what they can afford.
Home and land packages have always been a more affordable way to buy a home, and for FHBs willing to look away from our expensive urban centres there are good deals to be found. So if you’re a FHB and are looking to get the ball rolling securing finance, Canstar can assist.
To help you make the right choice, each year we review mortgage lenders and their products. On top of our First Home Buyers Award, our Home Loan Star Ratings use a sophisticated and unique ratings methodology that compares both cost and features across various types of home loan products. To read more about our five-star home loan awards click here, or to compare other mortgage rates hit the button below.
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