Apr. 2006
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Check out Weeks ending:  [8 Apr 06] [15 Apr 06] [22 Apr 06] [29 Apr 06]

Week ending 8 Apr 06 (Bob)

House-hunting - In our final full week we returned to the Auckland area and revisited some of the areas we had seen before.  Plus, we visited areas of Auckland's North Shore that we had previously written off : Birkenhead, Birkdale, and Beach Haven.  This was a pleasant surprise as we found nice neighborhoods within easy driving range of the city with more moderate prices - some downright affordable.  On one street we found the house below that we quite liked.

A House We Like - After 3 weeks we did spot a house that grabbed both of us, primarily because of the design and surroundings.  Like many homes in NZ it is going to sell at auction, in this case 2 weeks after our planned departure so we have put a bid in and will see what happens.  But a few peeks at it will show you why we liked it:

Dining room and kitchen


Living room

Solarium and leafy surroundings

More Friends - Also this week we found time to catch up with Kim and Colin who arrived in NZ the same year we did on the yacht Tess, and who have stayed to work and raise their beautiful daughter Chelsea.  We had a delicious dinner and traded stories long into the night in their home in Laingholm amid palms and kauri trees.  Also we had a delightful lunch with Simon and Rosalie, caravaning friends we met in Australia who live near Auckland.  They plan a trip to Turkey so we went into "Chamber of Commerce" mode extolling the virtues of visiting Turkey.

Week ending 15 Apr 06 (Bob)

Back to England - After another 24+ hour flight (with a brief break in Singapore) we found ourselves sharing a glass of wine with our friends in Ringwood once again.  Rory and Sandra are both updating and/or reprinting their books due to demand across three continents.  We stayed 2 days before moving on to Italy

Flying on Easter - When we made our original bookings for NZ we did not realize that we would be returning on one of the most-traveled weekends of the year in Europe.  Fortunately we found a reasonable priced flight on Easter day (few want to travel on Easter itself) and after an early wake-up call we had a smooth RyanAir flight to Lamezia, a 30-minute taxi ride from the marina.

Week ending 22 Apr 06 (Bob)

Boat chores - Now that we are back on aboard Long Passages we swore to take 3 days and just sit!  But, consumed with guilt, and the fact that the trip back was not as bad as we expected, we got stuck into chores:

  • Varnishing - Judi has tackled the exterior, which still looked pretty good but was wearing this in places so the dust flew and varnish is starting to appear on our teak decor outside.
  • Replacing - Bob unpacked the computer bits and pieces brought back from England and replaced our water-damaged (and obsolete) laptop and monitor with newer gear.

Week ending 29 Apr 06 (Bob)

Burning the midnight oil - The beginning of the week was occupied with preparations for the upcoming auction at the house we liked in Auckland:

  • Filling out and faxing/emailing paperwork
  • Testing phone connections (we used Skype from our computer since we have a wireless connection in the marina).
  • Setting our alarms to get us up at 0330 to monitor the auction in real time in New Zealand.
  • Coordinating with our friend Laonie who would be bidding on our behalf in NZ.
  • Getting our hopes up.

Aced out at the auction - Alas, Laonie never really had a chance since the bidding started 10% over our highest number and went up from there, ending 25% over what we felt the house was worth.  We were sad, but feel the bidders probably paid more than the property was worth. 

Conclusions - In our 3+ weeks of looking around New Zealand we came to a number of conclusions:

  • Inflation - Like everywhere else, house prices in NZ have increased significantly in the last 5 years.
  • Globalization- The global market makes it easier for people to buy in out-of-the-way countries like NZ, thus driving their prices up to a level comparable to the US and UK. Communications and low-cost airlines make it easier for people to live in NZ and market their skills elsewhere by consulting or writing.
  • Values exist everywhere - Even in a place where prices have increased a lot, there are still fixer-uppers and suburbs that are less costly than others, so housing is affordable, it just requires perseverance to find the bargains.
  • We will return!

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