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Seize The Day

The property investing landscape may have changed, but there’s no need to give up: there are still opportunities out there for dedicated and savvy investors

By: Miriam Bell

1 June 2019

Back in August 2015, it was the height of the Auckland market’s spectacular bull-run. Prices were climbing steeply upwards and investors were reaping the capital gain benefits. It was, I wrote in an article, the best of times and the worst of times. That’s because there were profits and gains on one hand - but affordability issues and unsustainability on the other.

Times have changed dramatically. These days the Auckland market has cooled significantly, prices have dipped and sales activity is subdued. There are still pockets of growth in other markets around the country, but they are slowing too and the recent golden age looks to be over.

And yet, in many ways, the phrase “the best of times, the worst of times” could still be applied to the market. On the negative side of the ledger, eyewatering capital gains are grinding to a halt, government policies (like the new ring-fencing rules and the Healthy Homes minimum standards) are creating a tougher environment for investors and lending criteria remains restrictive.

But, on the positive side of the ledger, as prices flatline returns are creeping up and the slower market means there are more opportunities for savvy investors. There have also been some welcome developments of late: not only will there be no capital gains tax, but the Reserve Bank recently cut the OCR to a new record low and that means mortgage rates are tracking at a sub-4% level.

It all serves to highlight the fact that the property cycle continues on its inevitable rotation, much as weather cycles through the seasons. And while outside interventions might seek to control the behaviour of market participants, there is only so much they can do. For committed and informed investors, there’s always ways and means to pursue their property journey.

Take Campbell Crawford and Penny White, who are profiled in this issue. They are a fine example of seizing the day and getting into property, despite the investing naysayers. Last year, they were travelling around in a hippie van, trying to figure out what to do. Having decided to take the property plunge, they now own a couple of investment properties and are set to build their portfolio further.

The current environment is also prompting many investors to look at how they can add value to their existing properties and portfolio. To that end, in this issue’s lead story The Block NZ 2013 winners, Alice and Caleb Pearson, share their expertise on the best ways to boost a property’s value via cost-effective renovations.

We hope our readers enjoy these articles – along with the rest of this issue’s content – and that they serve to inspire and guide them through the new property investment landscape.


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