Where to buy property in Chch?
Press journalist and first-home hunter Georgina Stylianou shares the highs and lows involved with getting a wobbly foot on the great property ladder.
Location, location, location. That's how the saying goes.
Christchurch's most desirable suburbs - in terms of property - are well out of my financial reach and the areas that boast the cheapest houses are often quake-ravaged and quite unpretty . . . to put it politely.
When it comes to spending half an hour or so browsing property listings, our search criteria is pretty vague.
Robbie and I both went to Cashmere High School and spent many years on that side of town. I love the hills and the walking tracks, the river and the swathe of city from Hoon Hay to Heathcote has that familiar, homely feeling.
So, naturally, we are looking for houses in that area but Beckenham, St Martins, Cashmere, Huntsbury, Hilsborough etc are far too expensive.
More attainable would be Spreydon, Somerfield, Hoon Hay, Barrington, Woolston and Opawa.
But I've had an idea . . . the Government has yet to decide the future use of red-zoned land but it's highly improbable it will be turned into a landfill or some ugly industrial centre.
More likely is the continuation of the Christchurch Central Development Unit's Avon River precinct all the way out to the sea.
Buying a house, most likely on TC2 or TC3 land, somewhere near the river on the eastern side of town could mean that within five years time your property is on the fringe of the suburban equivalent of Hagley Park.
Canterbury Earthquake Recovery Authority chief executive Roger Sutton says ideas such as rowing courses, man-made swimming lakes and even an artificial hill have already been mooted.
Imagine owning a property in a newly paved street so close to such a great outdoor facility?
It wouldn't be too far-fetched to think that property prices in suburbs both close to town and close to the river - such as Linwood, Avonside and Richmond - could increase.
These areas were popular pre-quake so why wouldn't they be popular again? The effect of a backyard river park can only be positive surely.
Robbie isn't too keen on The Idea because the interim period could be pretty desolate and it might mean living next to a construction site but it would be a lot cheaper and it could mean that within five years we end up with a property in a desirable location.
Your feedback is welcome.
Worst case scenario is the Powers That Be decide they can't afford to write off such a vast amount of Christchurch land so residential development - with tailor-made foundation solutions - is once again permitted.
So, with this latest brainwave, our search criteria has become even more vague.
However, we've finally been pre-approved from Kiwisaver.
I qualified for three years = $3000 and Robbie has been pre-approved for $4000 and we've got a further $10,000 or so from our own Kiwisaver contributions. Next stop - bank!