Home Survey Analysis
And a solution to what you've said you
Unlike what we think of
in North America, a New Zealand motel is a friendly,
comfortable, and convenient place for people to stay.
Motel units are clean,
spacious, and well fitted with amenities.
There are many different
reasons why people choose a New Zealand Winter Home, and many
different choices to select from.
Based on our reader surveys,
here's what may represent the best option for many readers.
our second reader survey were very helpful - and also
Length of stay in NZ each year
I'd been assuming most people
would live in their NZ Winter Home for four or more months each
Survey responses suggest
otherwise. Half of respondents said they'd stay for a much
shorter period - between one and two months.
Only 3% of respondents said
they'd stay for five months or more, and 90% of people plan to
spend less than four months a year in New Zealand.
Preference for Condos over
There was also a stronger
preference for condo style ownership compared to house ownership
in this survey compared to the first survey. In the first
survey, answers were close to evenly split between preferring a
free standing house or a condo in a condo block.
This time, condo preferences
outnumbered house preferences six to one.
The question about interest in a
shared ownership plan received a positive response - three times
as many replies were moderately or very interested compared to
those moderately or very opposed.
When asked what size share they'd
want most people indicated a one third or one half share.
No-one wanted a one fifth or
smaller sized share. This is very different, of course, to
traditional 'time share' where you normally get shares in one
week increments (ie one fiftieth of the year/ownership).
Renting when absent
The greatest unanimity of opinion
was on the subject of what to do with one's Winter Home when one
was not living in it oneself. 84% of answers said they'd
definitely or probably want to rent their home out, with the
other 16% being either 'Don't know' or 'No real preference'
No-one said they did not want to
rent their home out during the time it would otherwise be vacant
(although some of the comments helpfully pointed out pitfalls
that need to be considered).
Not considered in this survey,
but a focal point of the first survey, was the size of
investment people were willing to consider in a NZ Winter Home.
For most people, the necessary level of investment, in today's
buoyant NZ property market, is simply too high.
This affordability issue is
plainly a major driving force encouraging people to now consider
a partial share ownership. For people planning to spend
one or two months a year in New Zealand, a half or third share
ownership plan could make a great deal of sense. Two or three
couples could each spend one or two months in NZ during the
winter season without the need for severe conflict or compromise
in terms of when each couple would be able to use the shared
The appeal of the shared
ownership was shaded by some thoughtful comments about potential
problems associated with such an approach. Probably when
considering a high cost condo investment, people felt the pluses
outweighed the minuses in a shared ownership scenario.
Short term stays also mean there
may be less need to duplicate 'all the creature comforts of
home' quite as fulsomely as might be the case if considering an
extended 4+ month stay each year.
NZ Winter Home Solution
There is no single and completely
inclusive approach to satisfy everyone's various needs.
But there is also no requirement to find such a thing. It
is entirely possible, within a region, to have a mix of
different housing styles - individually owned or owned in shares
- with a common servicing resource to care for and let out the
houses and condos during their owners' absences.
However, the two sets of survey
results, combined with the real world constraints of the NZ
property marketplace, end up suggesting a concept that may be of
broad appeal to many potential winter home owners.
This would involve buying a motel
development and strata titling out the individual motel units,
enabling you to own your own affordable and comfortable motel
Individual ownership of NZ
New Zealand motels are not the
sleazy dives that sometimes spring into mind when the word
'motel' is used in a North American context. They are the
main form of tourist accommodation for New Zealanders when
vacationing in other parts of their country.
Each unit is like a small
apartment - it usually has one bedroom, with some having two and
some being studio units. It has a small kitchen, a living
area, and of course, bathroom too. The units are
invariably clean and well cared for, and there are usually
communal laundry facilities and grounds.
Each individual motel unit is
likely to cost something less than US$100,000, and you'd
probably choose to spend some money on upgrading the standard of
furniture and fittings to make them more cozy and home-like,
more suited for private ownership and month-plus stays, rather
than catering primarily for transient guests staying no more
than one or two nights.
Your total investment in a unit
is likely to be between $100,000 and $125,000. In round
figures, this can be considered half the cost of a condo and one
third the cost of a house.
Motel unit share ownership
With such an affordable cost of
complete ownership, we expect there to be less interest in
We could make one or two of the
units available in half shares (probably costing $60,000 -
$70,000 each), but there's little purpose in making available
one third or one quarter shares because the growing hassle
factor definitely outweighs the reduced cost saving in such
A motel unit is already
optimized for renting when you're absent
Obviously, a motel unit is
ideally set up to attract as many guests as possible when you're
not present yourself, helping to ensure you get a generous
A motel unit is 'expandable'
if you have guests visiting
Most people indicated, in the
first survey, they wanted at least two bedrooms. We
suspect this second bedroom was primarily for the 'just in case'
visit from friends and family, an event that survey respondents
noted would probably be uncommon rather than regular.
If you own a motel unit, you have
an easy solution when guests arrive. Simply have them stay
in one of the other units in the motel development.
Of course, you could also choose
to invest in two motel units if that was a preferred option.
What do you think?
Is this a good idea? A
great idea? Or ??? Do you have questions or comments about
this concept? Concerns? Or do you think it a
Please give me your thoughts.
10 Jul 2005, last update
28 Nov 2012