It comes as no surprise that New Zealand is seventh on the list of best countries to live in around the world. In the past few decades, New Zealand saw impressive growth and transformation and is best known for offering residents safety, political stability, and a remarkable quality of life.
The country’s public education and health system also consistently rank amongst the world’s top few, making it one of the few countries famous for its handling of the COVID-19 pandemic.
Over the past two decades from 2000 to 2020, New Zealand has seen the prices of their homes continuously grow, driven by strong economic growth. Despite the recent COVID-19 pandemic, demand for housing in New Zealand remains extremely strong, supported by the low interest rate environment.
The undersupply of homes in the market has also put further pressure on prices that can only be rectified through an extended period of heavy building. For that reason alone, confidence in New Zealand’s property price growth is at an all-time high, even during the pandemic.
Furthermore, tourism is an incredibly important industry for New Zealand, with over 3.8 million tourists visiting New Zealand in 2019 and contributing to $16.2 billion, or 5.8% of the country’s total GDP of that year.
Many property investors are therefore turning to the New Zealand property market in hopes of cashing in on the expected rental yield from tourism after the pandemic ends. Analysts expect indicative rental yields in New Zealand to be above 5%.
The combination of all these factors have drawn throngs of foreign investors to invest in New Zealand which prompted the move from the government to ban foreigners from buying existing property in the country. The only exception to this would be Australians and Singaporeans due to the existing free-trade agreement between both countries.
Singaporeans and Australians, eligible to invest in New Zealand property market
Singapore has always enjoyed a close relationship with New Zealand. In 2018, New Zealand announced that Singaporeans would have the right to buy property in their country. This exemption is only made available to certain groups of people – Singaporeans, Australians, and certain types of visa holders. All other foreigners would not be allowed to buy existing homes in New Zealand. This makes investing in New Zealand’s property market a fuss-free process for Singaporeans.
Both New Zealand and Singapore have also begun talks to restart travel between the two countries through a travel bubble. Singapore’s Minister for Foreign Affairs, Dr. Vivian Balakrishnan, shared a post on his official Facebook account stating that the countries are discussing the “possibility of collaborating in mutual recognition of digital health and vaccination certifications”.
Oamaru, a Haven for Tourists
One of the up-and-coming areas that property investors are looking at is Oamaru, the largest town in North Otago, in the South Island of New Zealand. The town is accessible and is connected to the two major cities of Timaru and Dunedin by both highway and railway, respectively. With a population that is steadily growing, Oamaru is an up-and-coming tourist destination that is described as one of New Zealand’s best preserved Old Towns.
Oamaru’s heritage is undeniably their largest asset. With over seventy buildings registered as Category 1 or 2 Historic Places in the Heritage New Zealand register, city dwellers find themselves turning to Oamaru for a taste of the Victorian life and its historical architecture.
Many buildings are built and decorated according to the Victorian-era, with many shops bearing the mark of a bygone time – quaint antique furniture shops and traditional businesses such as book shops, antique clothing stores and a book binder pepper the town, adding to the feeling of being in the olden days. This adds to the town’s rustic charm, drawing tourists in by the crowds.
Adding to the quaintness of the town is a colony of little blue penguins, who have been living in a disused quarry on the harbor near the historic town. Slightly further up south lives a colony of yellow-eyed penguins at Bushy Beach as well.
Since then, guided tours have started cropping up to cater to domestic and international tourists hoping to catch a glimpse of the adorable penguins.
Retiring in Oamaru
Everybody longs for the day when they can finally put their feet up after years of working hard. There are plenty of reasons why Singaporeans might look at retiring in New Zealand. New Zealand offers an idyllic and relaxed pace of life that is perfect for retirees and with plenty of activities to do, you’ll never run out of things to do, be it hiking, sailing, climbing, or taking a stroll by a beautiful beach.
Singapore was rated the world’s 3rd most expensive city to live in. In comparison, New Zealand’s cities are considerably cheaper to live in, with Auckland ranking at 89th and Wellington at 114th. This means that your daily necessities and living expenses will be cheaper than Singapore’s, should you choose to retire in New Zealand.
Furthermore, the Asian community at New Zealand and even Oamaru is growing larger by the day. Over 12% of the total population are Asians, with 4.8% of the Oamaru community being Asians as well. This number is projected to grow, even in the far future.
New Zealand’s education system is comparable to Singapore’s as well. Early childhood education and primary school education are both free. Most of the best secondary schools and colleges are state-run and free as well, although parents are expected to cover minor costs.
Much like Singapore, public healthcare in New Zealand is widely available and free or low-cost for citizens and residents or those holding a work visa for two years or more.
For immigrants, it is also equally easy to take out a medical insurance policy at least until you achieve residency status. Care for injuries from accidents and hospitalization from Accidents, and Emergency treatment is free and covered by New Zealand’s unique Accident Compensation scheme.
All these factors make retiring in New Zealand a great boon. After years of working in a bustling city-state like Singapore, it’s time to relax and reap the rewards of your hard work in a more relaxed, comfortable environment, with all the comforts and conveniences you’re used to.