Tag Archives | buying your first home

Rent or Buy?

Rent or Buy?

Property prices have fallen significantly over the last two years making houses much more affordable than they have been for some time. Despite this, buyers are still in short supply. The most logical reason for this is that buyers expect prices to either continue dropping or to at least stay flat for some time. This creates a dilemma for first home buyers and people moving towns; is it better to rent or buy in the short term?

 Whether you are buying a property to live in or to rent to someone else, there are two factors to consider. The first is the extra income you will have if you buy, either because you are no longer paying rent or because you renting to someone else. The second is the capital gain you can expect from owning the property. Property prices are not expected to increase significantly over the next 3-5 years. At the same time, rents are still low in comparison with property prices. If you can rent a property for an annual rent of 5% of its market value, why would you borrow money to buy when the interest rate is around 7% and there is little prospect of capital gain?

 In the short term, with no expectation of property prices increasing, renting makes sense unless you can buy a property well below market value. For first home buyers, this allows more time to save a bigger house deposit and for others who have sold, it is an opportunity to temporarily live more cheaply in the kind of house that might previously have been out of reach to buy.

 In the long term, it makes sense to buy a property for security and peace of mind and to ensure you don’t get left behind when prices inevitably rise again.

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Buying your First Home

Tips for Home Buyers

For first home buyers the next few months are shaping up to a good time to buy and  there are three reasons for this. Firstly, we are seeing a decline in property prices as winter sets in. Some property investors have reacted to the last budget by choosing to sell and this has had an impact at the lower end of the market. Mortgage interest rates are expected to increase over the next few months and this will help keep property prices in check.

The second piece of good news for first home buyers is that from 1 July, 2010 you can you use some of your KiwiSaver funds for your house purchase providing you meet certain criteria. You must have been a member of KiwiSaver for at least three years and the house you buy must be one that you plan to live in yourself for at least six months. You will be able to withdraw the contributions you have made to KiwiSaver plus your employer contributions and investment returns. As well, you may be eligible for a subsidy of $1,000 for every year you have been a member of KiwiSaver up to a maximum of $5,000. To be eligible, your income and the value of the house you are buying must be within certain limits.

Thirdly, you may also be eligible for a low deposit loan through Housing New Zealand’s Welcome Home Loan scheme. With this scheme, you can borrow up to $200,000 without a deposit and up to $280,000 ($350,000 in some areas) with a 15% deposit on the amount above $200,000. That means you can buy a $280,000 house with a deposit of $7,500 and your KiwiSaver money (contributions plus subsidy) will count towards your deposit.

Now is definitely a good time for first home buyers.

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