New Zealand Real Estate Practices

Overview
New Zealand society is diverse and sophisticated with European, Maori and Asian influences – population 4 million. Wellington city is the southernmost national capital in the world.

Real Estate Practices
Real Estate commissions are usually paid by the seller and range from 3-4% except on lower priced transactions in which the rate of commission may be higher. A Goods and Services Tax (GST) also applies at a current rate of 15%

New Zealand uses the Torrens system of land registration and all real estate property is registered in the local district and searchable for a nominal fee. The Torrens certificate contains information regarding the land, improvements, ownership and encumbrances. The register is available to the public and is computerized.

Real property may be mortgaged as security for debt and mortgages must be registered with the Registrar of Companies. Mortgages in excess of 60% loan to value and a ten year term are common and acceptable. The most common mortgage sources are banks and financial institutions.

Closing procedures are regulated by the government and usually occur within 60 days of contract execution. Once the contract is executed, attorneys for both parties effect settlement of the sale and arrange for registration of the new owner of the property. Legislation is in process to expand the role of the real estate agent and attorney to that of licensed conveyancer thus allowing both parties to manage the entire process.

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