According to Demographia’s latest study (which I found quoted in The Guardian, so hopefully we’re not all spreading fake news), these were the least affordable major housing markets in the 3rd quarter of 2018*:
- Hong Kong
- San Jose
- Los Angeles
- San Francisco
- London and Toronto
*In Australia, Canada, China [Hong Kong Only], Ireland, New Zealand, Singapore, the United Kingdom and the United States, as measured by median housing price / median household income.
Clearly my immediate family has expensive luck/taste; between my parents and brother and me, the four of us were born/grew up in, lived for a significant period of time in, or currently live in (or very close to) a walloping six out of these eleven cities, located in three different countries!
Want more geeky tables? Continue reading “Fun fact: Auckland’s housing is even less affordable than San Francisco’s”
On the 20th of February, I got an email from Immigration New Zealand (INZ) informing me that they’d approved our application to become permanent residents. I’m super relieved as this was kind of hanging over us for a while, even though there was very little chance that it would not work out in our favor.
Here’s what permanent residency means for us [I’m not an immigration consultant blah blah legal disclaimer check INZ’s website for the latest and greatest info]:
- We can now vote;
- Our continued existence here is no longer tied to my current job (not that I’m interested in quitting, it’s just nice to know I’m not stuck if it ever ceases to be a good fit);
- I can now do jobs on the side (this wasn’t permitted on my specific work visa)
- We can get credit cards (not to carry a balance, but to get cash back on all our purchases!);
- We can buy a house (not that we can currently afford any houses we’d want to live in, it’s just that the new government here recently passed a law that foreigners cannot buy existing houses, only build new ones… and even before that law changed, banks wouldn’t give us a mortgage unless we were residents anyway);
- We can go to school (we weren’t allowed to study for more than 3 months on our work visas before)…
- …at local tuition rates (which are ~1/3 of the rates for foreigners, this number varies a lot depending on which program and which university);
- We qualify for KiwiSaver, NZ’s retirement plan (employers are required by law to match employee contributions up to 3% for employees who opt into the KiwiSaver plan, so I’m signing up right away. And yes, if you leave the country you get to take your KiwiSaver funds with you); and
- We’re pretty sure Scott’s existence here is no longer tied to our relationship… though we have no plans to test that out 🙂
The “permanent” part of our residency means that we can Continue reading “We are now officially permanent residents of New Zealand + some thoughts on global mobility”
It’s been exactly six months since Scott and I moved to Auckland from San Francisco, so it seems like a good time to write up a few more quick reflections on the differences between life in those two places:
- Farmers markets are few and far between.
- Storms actually affect the price of veggies; after one of the recent tropical cyclones hit, cauliflower and lettuce went up from ~$3 to ~$7 a head (all costs in this post in NZD).
- Thanks to its Mediterranean climate (not to mention the drought), I’m totally used to California’s hills being crispy and golden for most of the year. It really felt odd to me that New Zealand’s bright green grassy hills stayed that way all through Spring AND Summer, even though it does make sense given the regular rains.
- Leaving the house without a layer is usually OK. Really. Even in the evening. But you never know when it might rain, so keep the umbrella handy.
- You can actually swim in the ocean(s) here! Without a wetsuit! And there are so many beaches right in the city that we haven’t even come close to checking all of them out. Ditto all the beaches within an hour’s drive of our place.
Continue reading “Reflections on a first Spring and Summer in New Zealand”