Where to Buy - Country or City?

Where to Buy Country or City_Blog

There are no two ways about it, buying a house is a big decision. You can spend months compiling a list of all the things a potential home must have - the process really is that absorbing.

Once you’ve locked down the features of the perfect house, then it’s time to think about location. At the end of the day, location can make or break a house. Location is not just what street the property is on, but also the suburb and region around New Zealand you decide to call home.

When it comes to property location there is no one size fits all. So before deciding on a house, there are some considerations to make note of. Firstly, money plays a significant role, how much would a comparable property cost in a more rural versus a city setting. Secondly, is the house a reasonably located to schools, work and the shops. Finally, consider what it is you want from the property. Once the goals of the investment are determined, this will help you decide whether you belong in a city or the country.


Where should you buy?

Deciding whether to buy in a city or in the country might sound simple, but it’s not as straightforward as it may appear. Finding the right location can be a daunting prospect, and not just for first time investors.

One way to sort through the noise is to define the broader parameters for where you think you might like to invest. Choosing between regional New Zealand and being near smaller towns or closer to big city centres is one way to narrow your search.

Deciding between the two are individual decisions which will be based on the goals of your property investment strategy as well as the level of risk you are comfortable with. However, deciding between the two will come down to your research. 

People who have never lived in the country before can encounter pitfalls they never knew a property could have, so it is important to be well prepared. If you’re considering a rural property, do your research. This is because there are responsibilities that come with rural homes that simply don’t concern suburban or inner-city residents.

Some of these risks include:

  • Presence of livestock diseases in the area
  • Instances of plant and pests diseases 
  • Land usage rights that affect what you can use your property for 
  • Land rights that determine what outside parties can do to and on your property
  • Legal requirements to control noxious weeds, animals and insects.


When looking at a rural property, ask questions. There may be some instances where a vendor is not legally obligated to disclose the aforementioned things about a property. So to combat this, be prepared to ask questions. If you are aware of any issues before you buy, you have all the information needed to make the best decision possible about buying a rural property. 

It should be noted that investors of rural properties can reap huge rewards. House and land prices often cost much less for a lot more property than what house hunters in the city would pay. Of course, there is also the added bonus of enjoying life in the great outdoors when you buy in the country. 


A numbers game

With 84 percent of New Zealand's population living in urban areas, finding a home in town can be an easier bet. In large cities, there are always a lot of people and therefore you will usually see a steady flow of tenants. Cities offer more work opportunities covering a range of different sectors, and this is responsible for the greater demand for property. This results in a diverse economy, which lowers the investment risk. 

However, city properties do have a pitfall - and they are often a lot more expensive. The median house price in Auckland sits at $1,125,000. For example, an investor could buy a property in Martinborough for exactly that amount. The property is recently renovated and features five bedrooms, one bathroom and is on 5.78ha of land. 

At the end of the day, the fact remains that city properties are much more expensive than rural properties. So the decision between the two locations comes down to many factors. Firstly, what lifestyle you want your property to allow for. Secondly, would you rather a bigger property in a rural location for less money, or a smaller property in a city location for a lot more money. 

Knowing how far your money will get you in both city and rural locations is the first step to coming to terms with where you want to buy.  

The broad differences

Buying in either a rural or city area is going to provide buyers with two distinct lifestyles. Rural property owners will notice how peaceful and slow paced life can be. There really will be time to stop and take in the vast surroundings of mother nature. Whereas those who call the city home will notice that everything moves at a faster pace, there will always be a café to try, a show to see or a place to shop. 

Where you buy will determine the lifestyle you will have. In the city there will always be the noise of others - be it sirens, the sound of traffic or just people living their lives. In a rural town, buyers will find that the majority of sounds come from the landscape, which in turn leads to a more peaceful feeling.

In the city, of course, there will be lots of access to just about anything one could think of - entertainment venues, food stores and activities. While in the country residents may find themselves spending more time at home, keeping busy on your property, or spending more time in the car in order to get to the shops. 

There is no one size fits all answer to the country versus city debate and your selection will depend on many different variables. An LJ Hooker agent can assist you in making the best choice for your individual property needs.

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