Tag Archives: Zoning

More Good News for TC3 Homeowners

Firth Industries national technical manager John Hambling demonstrates the new foundation system.
Photo: Kirk Hargreaves/The Press

Further to last week’s post on the way forward for TC3 property owners, Liz McDonald in The Weekend Press writes:

House foundations poured on top of the ground that can be re-leveled with the turn of a screw are the newest earthquake fix to appear in Christchurch.

The first foundation to use the new system – intended for rebuilds and repairs on technical category 3 (TC3) sites – has been poured in the suburb of Hoon Hay.

Jon Hambling, national technical manager for Firth Industries, said the system would suit 90 per cent of homes, could be built in a week, and meant a home could be re-leveled in just a few hours if quakes shifted the land.

Instead of piles it involves two poured reinforced concrete slabs, separated by about 25 individual raft jacks which can be adjusted by pulling back carpets. It can be used for both repairs and rebuilds.

I think it is great to see such fresh and creative thinking coming to the fore providing solutions for the future. It would be rather ironic, looking forward, if you were hosting a dinner party following an earthquake – one would be busy texting the guests notifying them that the party will be delayed by an hour while you are waiting for the house to be re-leveled! It all seems too easy really after what most of us have been through over the last two and half years of not living on the level.

Highest research into TC3
One thing about TC3 land is that it indisputably has had the most research done on it over the last two years and probably has more readily available info than any other type of land in the city. In fact I know of a purchaser who purchased a TC3 section for that reason. While he certainly didn’t pay a premium for the site it does make a lot of sense.

I like Gerry Brownlee’s comment, “TC3 is not the bogey some people were making it out to be, dealing with TC3 is not a terminal problem for anyone.” I guess we will be watching this space Gerry!


And more good news…
My last week’s auction was on TC3 land and the property sold under the hammer; so that goes to prove that both the buying public and lending institutions have confidence to progress such properties. What’s more is that the property did not have land damage and all the dwelling’s quake repairs had been completed. This is how it should be – normality restored for home and family!

On that positive note, enjoy your week and I trust you too are finding more normality as we move into the “rebuild” phase.

PS – Don’t forget to check out this property at 335 Estuary Road, one of my first “as is where is” sales for the year.

The Way Forward with TC3

While much is being said about TC3 land, the reality is that there is a way forward. Yes, TC3 properties can be sold, and are being sold. Our in-house statistics clearly reinforce this with 39% of our 79 sales between October and December falling into the TC3 category. As I have indicated in the past, by having the right information and a good understanding of just what checks and procedures banks and insurance companies require, the process of securing a mortgage and obtaining insurance can be successfully completed in most instances. Obviously each situation is different and if the perceived risk is high, it is understandable that a bank may be extra cautious or require higher equity levels before lending. I think the other reassuring factor with selling property here in the east is that the local professionals involved with processing these types of property transactions are familiar with the specific requirements to get the sale across the line. I know our own sales team here at the Parklands office have a wealth of experience and we often share experiences and insights that we have picked up along the way, not to forget that a number of us actually own and live on TC3 land.

The bottom line is that the stats clearly prove that there is a way forward and the percentage for these sales is steadily on the increase.

Just a brief reminder

This Thursday sees the auction of 3 Ascot Avenue – a funky 4 bedroom home/townhouse on a smaller section. The final open home is this Wednesday at 3.30pm.

The ABCs of TC3

When it comes to selling properties with a TC3 land zoning category it is important to go about it in a well informed and methodical way. The services of a real estate salesperson who has the experience, knowledge and correct procedures in place is invaluable in this process. Seeking legal advice is also good practice and is recommended. I have compiled a check list to help get you get started and do feel free to contact me for more in-depth assistance and guidance.

Hopefully the following will shed some light on best practice for both seller and buyer:

  1. Know your objectives
    Have clear goals. If your property is damaged – are you aware of the degree of that damage? What time frames are you working towards?
  2. Current market value
    Has the value of your property increased or decreased post-earthquakes?
  3. Assessments
    Be sure to have your property assessed, e.g. insurance and EQC Scope of Works (SOW), geotechnical land assessments etc.
  4. Land damage
    Make a list of the land damage. Did the site liquefy? Are there any undulations/sink holes etc? Buyers like to know this info.

  5. Street Damage
    An overview of the damage or lack thereof it is helpful to give confidence to buyers.

  6. Claims
    Compile a file of all the claims you have made on the property including land claims and if possible an update of their status. Include a list of all the claim numbers.

  7. Dwelling damage
    Does the property have less than $100,000 plus GST damage (under EQC cap) or has been “over capped” by EQC and referred to your insurer?

  8. Repair or rebuild?
    This is vital information as the ramifications to the purchaser are critical – an insurer may rebuild a house for the policy holder but may not for a new post quake owner.

  9. Selling “as is”
    This also needs careful discussion and professional advice as it is often a viable option. Generally this is done on a non-insured basis. The Griff team specializes in selling these types of properties.

  10. Cash settling
    This often but not always ties in with the above and it is a case of getting the facts in front of you and making the best decision based on what is in your best interests both financially and timing wise.

  11. Engineer’s report
    In my opinion this is again vital. This is your home’s post quake Warrant of Fitness and best practice for all involved. I believe it is one of the best marketing tools as it provides the base line for what is being represented.

  12. Deed of Assignment
    Any benefit you are passing over from both EQC and your insurer needs to be assigned. This is initially instigated by a contractual clause approved by your solicitor.

  13. Insurance transfer
    Before selling call your insurance company and check that they are happy to “roll over” the same policy conditions for a new purchaser.
  14. Further terms of sale
    Again it is best practice for us to prepare a contract on your behalf for the sale of your property and have your solicitor approve it prior to entering into a contract.

  15. Seek legal advice
    Remember your solicitor is ultimately the one who should check that all the legalities have been attended to, and as above, it is best to take such advice prior to proceeding.

  16. TC3 properties are sellable
    Our in-house stats indicate that between 32 – 34% of our sales in the Parklands office are on TC3 land. Take heart, the bottom line is there is a way forward and we are the team that has the skills and procedures in place to make that happen for you.

Here’s to many more sales on all land categories – bring on spring and bring on the sales!

A Snapshot of the Market

Demand for property remains consistent to strong in most areas of Canterbury with heightened interest in the north/west of the city and North Canterbury. The prerequisite for purchasers to transact generally appears to be safety and a perception of strong land. Here at the Parklands office we successfully negotiated just over $5m dollars worth of sales for the month of May and it is interesting to note that 74% of these sales were in the eastern suburbs – a real testimony of the resolute belief of those investing in the east!

So where to now for Parklands?
Many of you will be aware that CERA has decided to stand by their decision to green-zone the parts of Parklands that were particularly hard hit by recent earthquakes. While not everybody’s desired result it, overall it does give a positive message to the buying public.  Frankly, now the location and specific streets will not be stigmatised by a “red” zone nearby. Once insurance companies undertake repairs and rebuild homes in the area, this will certainly be confidence booster. Understandably some people will cash out and move while others will wait to have their properties remediated. I believe the future for the area looks positive and the lifestyle Mecca that it is will continue to win the hearts of many over.

Yes we are selling TC3 Properties
With confidence returning to the buying public, coupled with the support and belief of most lending institutes and insurers, we are transacting a good cross section of property types rated under the new post earthquake zoning categories. In fact, a recent internal survey highlighted that 34% of our sales since January were of TC3 zoning which confirms that there is a way forward and that we have the appropriate skills and procedures in order that both sellers and buyers can proceed with complete peace of mind.

 Quote of the week:

“Opportunity is missed by most people because it is dressed in overalls and looks like work.”

– Thomas Edison

So Does Green Mean Go?

Friday’s announcement by CERA may have brought closure but for many it has not brought resolve. Is it now simply a case of individually trying to get the best outcome from both EQC and insurers before making your final decision? It does seem that we are stuck with what we have got. The land is what the land is and the government has made it clear that they have no intention of turning any of the area red and pulling out the cheque book.

I am fielding a number of enquiries from locals regarding selling their properties “as is”, some damaged and some uninsured. There is a market for these homes if they are perceived safe and to be good value for money. Please rest assured it is not our practise to sell homes that are not structurally sound and to bring reassurance to the buying public we obtain a full structural engineers report upfront. In a number of cases it is quite surprising just how little the damage is in some properties that have been deemed uneconomic to reinstate to their pre-quake condition. It is good to see the house remaining rather than a vacant lot that may not be built on for some time.


TC3 Foundation Guide Released

As promised the long awaited new Department of Building and Housing guidelines for foundations in TC3 land have now been released. The Press also highlighted some of the key points.

While one would be a little naive to suggest that this is a “cure all” for all TC3 land it does equip professionals, local authorities and insurers with relevant and up-to-date guidelines for constructive assistance in this critical rebuild phase of our properties and city. The following quote from the DBH document reinforces this:

This guidance is intended for the engineering design, construction and insurance sectors, local authorities, and their professional advisors and contractors to clarify the technical and regulatory requirements for TC3 land. Given that all foundation repairs and reconstruction in TC3 require specific engineering design, the principal users of this document will be professional geotechnical and structural engineers.

Residential sites in TC3 with foundation damage require professional engineering input (investigation, assessment and design) to determine what is an appropriate repair or rebuild solution for each particular site (if in fact repair or rebuilding is required).

As is always the case, it is easy to get bogged down with technical data and facts, however I think it would be fair to say that there has been, and remains a concerted proactive effect by professionals and the powers that be to pull together vital resource and knowledge in order to provide a clearer and more certain path ahead. For that we are grateful.

A Response to The Weekend Press

On Saturday I was surprised to find that I was quoted on the front page of The Weekend Press in the article “Panicked Owners Sell Too Cheaply”. Incidentally I had no idea that anything from a brief chat on Friday would be going to print the next day. Further, I find it unfortunate that a large portion of what I said in a general conversation has been taken out of context.

Needless to say the damage has been done and I sincerely apologise for the grief and concern this has caused the local community and also my real estate colleagues. I certainly regret that this went to print at all and while I do not wish for self justification, I do believe if my weekly blog is anything to go by I certainly would never make such statements – you can be the judge on that.

Having lived and worked locally for many years now, I can only reinforce that I am 100 per cent committed to the greater Parklands community and its future wellbeing. Practically every day I benefit from the great recreational haven it provides – it’s a lifestyle that is very hard to beat!

Should you wish to receive any further clarification on this issue, please don’t hesitate to contact me.

Finally, to finish on a positive note the Parklands office is looking to end the month with a total of 18 successfully negotiated sales for the month. For me personally, the highlight would have to be the property in Beach Road, Waimairi Beach that we successfully sold under the hammer at auction.

Auctions, TC3 Property Sales, Sales Volumes & Beautiful NZ

Auction wins the day
The transparency and decisiveness of auction won the day for the sale of 30 Beach Road last week. It is often said that an owner won’t be certain just what they might accept and purchasers, just how much they might pay until they are both faced with it on the day. That was certainly the case in this instance and in my opinion there is no fairer or more open way for both parties to arrive at that mutual place of agreement.

TC3-zoning no hindrance
Another sale that I witnessed last week of a property on TC3 land drew excellent response with multiple interest and an excellent result for the vendor. It just goes to show that the general public have confidence in the way forward that CERA and the DBH are providing with regard to new foundations etc. This is a huge vote of confidence and a positive message to all that suitable and safe foundations can be engineered for this soil type.

Red zoners boost sales…..
From the front page of today’s issue of The Press:

Demand from red-zoners is still boosting the number of house sales in Christchurch, with cheaper homes proving especially popular. Figures from the Real Estate Institute show the median house price in the city last month was $337,444, down slightly from December but still higher than in January last year. The number of sales in Canterbury-Westland in January was 20 per cent higher than a year earlier, with North Canterbury showing the biggest jump in sales.

Some interesting trends and well worth reading.

NZ a great place
Having just returned from spending an extended weekend with three of my children visiting my mother in Cambridge and staying consecutive nights in Auckland, Cambridge and Tauranga made me appreciate just how beautiful our country is. From a balmy swim in the waters of the North Shore of Auckland to a relaxed farm stay in Cambridge followed by the sub tropical climate (rain and shine) of Tauranga. Good times and enjoyed by all.

Good News Everyone!

A sense of purpose…
While thumbing through the Sunday Star Times I couldn’t help but take notice of the article written by David Bailey, Business and Programme manager with the Christchurch City Council’s Recreation and Sports Unit.

Amongst all the bad news and slinging off that we have heard over recent weeks about our city council it was refreshing to read this article. David admits that he had preconceived notions about working for local government before he started but he has found it to be the opposite. As a lover of clarity and decisiveness, he’s found the Council’s structure consistent and thorough, with defined goals and, best of all, a sense of altruism (my word for the week) that sustains him:

 “The council’s core outcome is community, and that’s fulfilling for me. If I have one single motivator, it’s that. It gives my job meaning and value.”

“Working here is like soul food,” he says. “I want to get up and go to work in the mornings again.”

How good is that? We have some great people working behind the scenes who are absolutely passionate about what they do – good on you David, your enthusiasm is a tonic!

Foundation checks in blue-green zone…
Technical assessments on foundation damage will begin for the more than 8000 homes in Christchurch’s residential blue-green zone in the next six to eight weeks, the Earthquake Commission says. EQC customer services general manager Bruce Emson said yesterday all TC3-category properties with confirmed foundation damage would be assessed, which could result in customised foundation solutions being required.

80% of Parklands office sales in the east…
Against all odds an outstanding 80% of January’s sales for our Parklands sales team were in the greater eastern suburbs – well done from the Parklands team! As I often say to clients that you can virtually draw a line in the sand on either side of the areas hard hit in Parklands by December’s quake. Property almost immediately outside these areas is attracting good demand and fetching excellent results. Life is moving forward in the east and the spirit and drive of our community is very much alive – long may it continue!

Take care and let’s continue to embrace the good this week.

TC3: A Silver Lining

Last week while handing keys over to a client (who incidentally is renting the property she purchased in St Albans/Merivale until settlement due to the requirements of the insurer because of TC3 land zoning) I coincidentally met a geotechnical engineer from Aurecon on site. After a reasonably in-depth and informative conversation I was able to glean some very helpful information.

While he mentioned that residential work is currently only a very small portion of their workload and individuals requiring their services can expect a reasonable wait he made a couple of relevant comments that I thought would be welcome news for those blighted with the TC3 label (my home included):

  • Unofficially he mentioned that their company has a maximum charge for a residential property geotechnical investigation/report of $2,000.
  • After completing their inspection and subsequent report, if the land is deemed to be of TC2 rating/quality it is his opinion that it is possible to have the category changed for your land with CERA.
  • If able to have your property re-categorised he recommended that you do so, as moving forward he believes that it is likely insurers and lenders will mostly likely have more stringent requirements for TC3 zoned property.

I guess one of the advantages for a TC3 home owner is that thorough “site specific” investigation is going to be required for their properties one way or another. For example, if their home is to be rebuilt, their insurance/building company will be required to have a full geotechnical report completed in order to design appropriate foundations.  The bottom line in a property transaction is that both the home owner and the purchaser will have comprehensive site-specific information which would not necessarily be the case had it been zoned under one of the other categories – worth thinking about.

I trust February treats you well (and your Valentine) and here’s to good progress with the rebuild.

CORRECTION: To clarify, the $2,000 is for the drilling rig only. The cost for a geotech report from Aurecon is determined on a case-by-case basis. You can contact Aurecon on 03 366 0821.

Further, we have since found that the findings of a site-specific geotech report will be lodged on the city council’s property file and the LIM, but not result in the property being recategorised. Any future building/property requirements will be based on those findings.