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Real estate trends I’ve noticed in 2015 (also, hallelujah, we moved house!)

There is no bigger nightmare than competing for housing in a growing city.

Ever-more intrusive rental applications

Self-explanatory. With a growing population and not enough housing to meet needs, this is what happens.

Shorter tenancies

For some reason, there’s a fair few properties being advertised as available for only 3-6 months, and others are advertised as longer fixed term leases with no mention of possible extension. Weird.

Renting out houses in two parts

Bigger houses are increasingly being rented out as separate upstairs and downstairs floors, self-contained.

More heat pumps

More properties than ever before now have heat pumps installed, which is a good thing. And I’m seeing more frequent mentions of insulation as a selling point… since, you know, having proper insulation is still the bloody exception. Still the minority, though.

The misery is widespread #solidarity

Why yes, I have been devouring everything on the internet related to our property clusterf***. What’s new?

“I don’t want to be a landlord – I just want to own my own home so I stop getting kicked out of rentals.  It just happened again last week and I’ll have to find somewhere else to live, yet again.  It’s exhausting and demoralising…”

– Interest.co.nz commenter

“Our lease is up in April. Not looking forward to this shit. Saw so many places with obvious damp or complete lack of weather tightness last time around. Property managers get outright aggressive if you ask about landlord’s plans to resolve damp, usually saying it’s already solved (despite damp smell and to the touch).

“Bring on WOF, willing to pay more to not get sick from shitty housing.”

– Reddit commenter

“The amount of money I would need for a deposit on a house is astronomical but trying to rent is making me want a house just so I don’t have to worry about renting ever again.”

– Wireless interviewee

Our new place

After 5 years of living on our own (wow, it feels longer) it will be strange to live with others again. The good thing is we have our own bathroom – we’ve moved into the downstairs floor of a house, so we’re largely self contained. And the others aren’t home much.

I am SO excited to have:

  • room to breathe! To swing a cat, even! There’s actually a cat, no kidding. No more constantly tripping over each other. Space to do stretches, play guitar, and just live alongside, rather than on top of, one another. Even if I wasn’t married to a hulk, I hate small spaces. Micro apartments and tiny houses can bugger right off. Unpopular opinion, I know. Lack of living space has caused us a lot of misery over the years.

 

  • a full kitchen! A real stove and oven, and a DISHWASHER (thinking back to previous places where we had a dishwasher, life was vastly improved.)

 

  • a dining table (I have never lived anywhere with a dining space since leaving home)

 

  • a bathtub (in the main bathroom)

 

  • outdoor living space (the deck is epic)

 

  • no sharing any of the following with neighbours – driveway/water meter/bins/yard etc  

 

And we won’t know for sure for a little while, but it seems like a decently warm and dry house. (Fun fact: I now have a new warning sign to look out for, thanks to a random person who was at one of the same open homes as we were. “There’s a bit of dampness – you can feel it in the carpet,” she said to her daughter. Indeed, upon further reflection, there’s definitely something to that). It was a family home for decades, so that bodes well.

I was really not sure I could make it through another winter in our last place. Also, our neighbours were becoming even bigger pains in the ass, and traffic along my bus route was getting downright unbearable. Now my commute is shorter despite having a longer walk at the city end from the bus stop.

Still, there will be no rest until we are owners. Your place is not your own otherwise – you’re at the mercy of leaseholders/head tenants, property managers, landlords. I can’t wait to have a permanent home – one we never have to budge from as long as we make our payments, and that we can truly make our own. I want a heat pump and/or amazing insulation. A spare bedroom. A garage/workshop for him. A pizza oven, that we’ll build in our yard. And a dog. I can’t express how intense my nesting urges are.

I know my property fixation is not good for my mental health and happiness, and I’m trying to get it under control. I almost feel a physical stab every time I hear of someone I know managing to buy their first home.

Example: A former coworker who failed to buy property a few years ago and bowed out of the game, calling it a bubble, has just bought a place. Prices have only gone up since then, so I presume she saw the light and got in while she could. Interest rates can only go up so much before they fall; the same is not true of house prices, and I see nothing that actually points to a real reason for a crash (the way things are going, nothing short of a nuclear explosion would reverse population growth, and we don’t have nuclear plants here).

So: trying to get this real estate thing down to ‘motivational’ levels rather than ‘obsession’. Which should be easier now we don’t live in such a tiny hovel.

10 thoughts on “Real estate trends I’ve noticed in 2015 (also, hallelujah, we moved house!)

  • Reply Taylor Lee @ Engineer Cents March 24, 2015 at 01:00

    Yay, congrats for getting out of the old place! Hopefully the new one treats you well.

  • Reply The Asian Pear March 24, 2015 at 03:16

    Yay! It sucks that you have to live with others again but sounds like the house is much better than before – and no mushrooms growing in the house! 😀

  • Reply Pickled Fish March 24, 2015 at 08:02

    This is quite an interesting read. Especially when compared with a housing situation in the US. We do have it good here… and sometimes we do not appreciate it. It sucks leaving with other people, but having more space is always a huge plus. I hope you won’t hear your neighbors much.

  • Reply Michelle March 24, 2015 at 17:53

    I was curious about how you decided on this property? I’m very excited for you and I think that you needed a change of space and energy. Don’t forget to burn some sage and open the windows to cleanse the energy (am totally serious). A lot of us do that here…in Colorado LOL!

    • Reply eemusings March 24, 2015 at 19:31

      People T knows. (That process was a little bit of a drama too – nothing about our housing has been easy! – but can’t really be bothered getting into it.)

  • Reply Kemkem March 24, 2015 at 21:51

    “Micro apartments and tiny houses can bugger right off.” Hah hah hah!!!! I love that. I am still cracking up. I know it’s fashionable to like ultra small places, but l must admit that it’s not my style. We just moved into another rental, this time a house. I have had it up,to here with apartment buildings, especially being on the bottom floor.. 🙂 . Congratulations on the move!

  • Reply Sally March 25, 2015 at 09:45

    I know that feeling so deep in my bones. I love our place and it definitely had to happen (buying a condo was better than renting here), but we still have our eyes set on the prize of a house with a yard and a garage. Never had either of those growing up either, but I want my kids to have that. Doesn’t need to be fancy, just needs to exist! I used to dream that our little patio was a backyard that I could add a hot tub to and grow flowers along one side, etc. Plus, a solidly built home with sturdy construction, and someone who took care while he was building, which is usually not the case in California.

  • Reply Rhonda Albom March 26, 2015 at 20:37

    Congrats on finding a place with some space. I guess we are really lucky to have bought when we first arrived here. And we put in heat pumps a few years ago. Best thing we have done to our home since we arrived.

  • Reply Jayson @ Monster Piggy Bank March 29, 2015 at 17:10

    Yay! I am so excited for you. Congrats! It does feel good that you’ll be able to have a decent and more spacious house! Great start of the year!

  • Reply Funny about Money April 16, 2015 at 08:02

    This is exceptionally good news. SO glad to hear you’ve escaped from the digs that were making you miserable.

    You make it sound like ALL OF NZ is a lot like living in San Francisco. The conditions you describe sound like what my son had to deal with when he was living in SF…only maybe possibly even more trying.

    May you grow to love your new place and your landlord grow to love you. 😉

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