Photos: 20 Of Our Favourite Views

Whether it’s captivating cityscapes or breathtaking vistas, Open2view’s photographers get to work among the best views in New Zealand and Australia.

A great view can really make a property. It’s little wonder the owners of a Wellington apartment, whose sweeping harbour views were blocked by a four-metre-high wooden fence, took the matter to court. They won the battle and were awarded $72,500 this week.

With that in mind, we asked our talented team of photographers to show us some of the best views they’ve spotted from the decks, windows, gardens and skies of the properties they photograph.

Take a look at the stunning results in the gallery below.

Imagine having those views from your “office”? Well you could! Find out more about our franchise opportunities across New Zealand and Australia.

Where do you think the best views can be found in New Zealand and Australia? Let us know in the comments below or on our NZ and AU Facebook pages.


Photos: The changing face of a City….

I’m a born and bred Aucklander (but don’t hold that against me!). I’ve travelled a bit overseas and visited many places in New Zealand, but it was 2010 before I managed to make my way to Christchurch. I had a fantastic time. A fun long weekend in the city. Now, my only wish being that my visit was longer. I consider myself lucky, even though it was all too brief, that I got to see and experience Christchurch pre-earthquake.

Like so many others around the country, I sat watching with a feeling of total helplessness and disbelief at the images that were broadcast out to us three years ago. I couldn’t for the life of me see how the city would ever recover….but I’m sure glad it is.

As we approached the anniversary of the February Earthquake that caused so much destruction, we wanted to be able to reflect and commemorate in a positive way.

Taking some inspiration from the ‘Day in the Life’ post we did last year, I asked our team of Christchurch photographers if they would send in photos of their favourite places, buildings and views, new or old, from around the city.

Now we would like to share them with you:

“The stark contrast between the demolition and the new and novel use of resources to start the rebuild of Christchurch is very dramatic.” Paul Willets, Open2View Christchurch South

It’s truly amazing to see the creativity, colour and art in what is emerging and taking shape from the expanse of area that has been demolished within the city.

Christchurch, I can’t wait to visit you again soon….

A very big thank you to our Open2view photographers in Christchurch for their time.

Rekindle: The object of my affection.

From the moment I set eyes on it on The Block NZ last year, I was in love. Yes, it just knew it had to be mine.

rekindle table

Unfortunately, my living situation at the time (read: living with the in-laws) meant that there was no way I was getting my hands on that dinning room table anytime soon.

I was sure I’d heard it was made out of recycled timber from Christchurch. Resigned to the fact that I could not have it immediately, I decided to torture myself even further by tracking it down and ogling it online.

What I discovered was that there was a whole lot more to love about this table than just it’s good looks.

One beautiful piece at a time:

Rekindle is the social enterprise that is responsible for not only making the dinning table I love, but also other fantastic pieces of furniture, jewellery, art and other useful objects, all out of waste wood.

Their mission is to support communities to fully utilise their waste wood, develop employment opportunities and enable youth to gain real and transferable work skills.

It’s hard not to be inspired by the vision being pushed by founder and occupational therapist Juliet Arnott. Her belief that participation, especially for young people, in a meaningful work role has the potential to transform lives.

What better place to set up their first workshop than in Christchurch, where the team has worked to intercept as much of the reusable timber as they could from earthquake-damaged homes in the area.

rekindle products

The one of a kind pieces are not only beautiful but demonstrate the ongoing value of the materials used, bringing new life and function to what otherwise would have ended up on the scrap heap.

Whole House Reuse

Whole House Reuse: Rethinking what waste is.

In a symbolic act of respect to the thousands of homes demolished in Christchurch and to highlight just how much can be done to recycle the materials for future use, Rekindle, with support from the Sustainable Initiative Fund (SIFT) launched the Whole House Reuse.

The project involves salvaging one whole house that was due for demolition and turning it into an array of purposeful works and items across different creative disciplines such as: art, design, craft and micro-architecture.

19 Admirals Way: 

The deconstruction of 19 Admirals Way occurred over seven days in late August and early September 2013. A crew of professional salvagers pulled apart the house by hand, and a team of volunteers worked to load the materials onto trailers and ferry them into storage.

19 Admirals Wayssalvage work

From the salvage, 480 material listings were recorded in a Catalouge of Resources that is now being presented to the creative community of New Zealand within a book: Whole House Reuse – Deconstruction.  As we’ll as the materials catalogue, the book tells the story of the project so far with written and photographic documentation on the salvage work.

Whole House Reuse Book

It’s been a very busy few months for  project director Kate McIntyre with the launch of the book and a new website. I asked her a few questions about how the project was coming along and some of the surprises along the way so far:

1. What stage is the project up to now? What is the next step?

We are now in the Design stage of the project – which is when the creative community of Aotearoa/NZ become involved. Following that is the Reuse stage. This is basically when the works that result from the design stage are showcased, and the whole story of the project is outlaid for the public to experience. After this exhibition period, the works that have either found a home through the exhibition process, or were made with a specific community use in mind will be put to use again.

2. What has surprised you most about the project so far?

Two things – the hugely enthusiastic response the project illicits from such a huge range of people. I think this is because of the empowering nature of it – the fact that it is giving people a chance to engage and do something about a problem that they have felt so much frustration about – the senseless waste generated through demolition.

And the other thing – I knew that I didn’t know how much work was involved to fully deconstruct a simple home, but I still felt blown away. Even more than the act of deconstruction, just the transporting of the materials from one place to another could have benefited from a small army. It just goes to show how substantial just one home really is.

4. What is your favourite thing that has been created and sold in the rekindle store?

I really love the chairs. I think specifically for the way they speak directly of the value of the materials through practical function, and how they show that the story of those materials still continues.

If you want to keep up to date with the progress of the Whole House Reuse project, or you would like to get involved in the design stage, visit their new website for all the information. I can’t wait to see what is created.

Seeing as I still don’t have my own dinning room, I haven’t managed to acquire that dinning room table yet! Thankfully there’s plenty of other little treats in the Rekindle store to keep me happy. Let me know what your favourite Rekindle piece is on our facebook page.

2014. Year of the Real Estate Video.

Video is one of the most powerful and engaging forms of marketing. It’s the number one form of content that people consume on the web and the web is now the number one place people are looking for property.

The ability to tell a story about a property and connect emotionally with a buyer, is key to a successful real estate video.

Every property is different and may require a different approach when the time comes to film. That’s something our photographers and videographers understand fully!

Rachel von Nordeck & Paul Willetts have been with Open2view for almost a year now. We thought we’d have a quick catch up with them and take a look at some of the great high definition videos they are producing for their clients in the Christchurch South area…

What led you both into the field of photography?  

Rachel: Photography has always been a facet of my career. I completed a BA in Design with a minor in Photography at university and in some way or another, I have ‘made pictures’ throughout my career—from directing shoots for magazine spreads to graphic design layouts to video production.

Paul: I studied Photography back at Secondary School and guess was quite good at it, seeing as after two years as I was awarded Top Scholar in New Zealand for Bursary Photography. I then did what I thought I should do and go to University where I studied Physical Education for four years. This lead me to become a Scuba Diving instructor in Christchurch. When I decided to put the scuba diving and photography together I got a job in Grand Cayman. This was where my Video Camera Operator experience began. For the last 10 years I’ve been travelling around the world (Grand Cayman, Thailand, Egypt, Bahamas) working as an Underwater Camera Operator. Once I reached Egypt I was involved filming and editing footage for Film Festivals and a number of Freediving World Championships.

Seeing as I was born and bred in Christchurch, after the September quake I was drawn to return to see what it was all about and to feel more connected to the experience that friends and family were experiencing during that time. On returning I got a job as a camera operator for Trackside TV, where I still lend my skills occasionally.

Apart from real estate, what else do you enjoy photographing?

Rachel:  Anything where I get to blow bubbles! I have been extraordinarily lucky to have experienced many underwater ‘National Geographic’ moments in the last 10 years as an underwater camera operator. I’ve filmed everything from wildlife for documentaries to international free diving competitions and I loved every minute of it!

Paul: Its been over 3 years since I last had the chance to go diving and film fish. I miss being surrounded by schools of 1000+ snapper and barracuda and being able to be in my little underwater world amongst manta rays, whale sharks, hammerheads, etc etc etc. Think this year I might have to try and get back in the warm water somewhere on a holiday.


What’s been the most interesting property you’ve photographed/filmed recently? 

Rachel: On a stunning Canterbury day, anything with a view will do! I love shooting the hill properties with a gorgeous aspect overlooking Christchurch.

Paul: I guess all the property videos that we have done this year have been fun. We are continuing tweeking them and as no two houses or agent are the same I think you have to be flexible with your approach. I did enjoy filming our first property video on Factory Road in Little Akaloa, as it allowed me to get my feet wet at least being in the stream with the eels. I am really enjoying having the steadicam rig since Christmas and is providing a great challenge as it is something I have never used before. Well until we filmed 25A Kahu Road.  

What are you most looking forward to in the year ahead:

Rachel:  I am most looking forward to continuing to build our business and developing my skills as a photographer. I’m still so new to working in real estate, I’ve got plenty more to learn.

Paul: With the huge amount of video on the internet these days and the strength it has as a marketing media I am really looking forward to pushing HD video for Real Estate. Even on returning to New Zealand I saw a hole in the market.  I believe when it comes to internet / websites and technology New Zealand is a little slow at picking things up and I really want to get Video into the Real Estate market and have it more commonly used. Oh, but most of all, building my Agent numbers and doing more photography again.

Let your listing stand out from the crowd.
Lets take a look at some of the recent high definition videos that Rachel & Paul have filmed. Each offers a different style to suit the purpose of the video…

Powerful Perspectives
A vendor’s stories can bring a property to life: how they came to be here; what they’ve loved about their home; and how it may break their hearts to leave. These stories show a prospective buyer not just the property, but the lifestyle that goes with it! With video you can get a real sense of the space of the home, but you can also convey powerful emotions.

A Testament to You
There can be no greater impact than a face-to-face testimonial. And if you can’t drag your convert along with you, video is the next best thing.

Capture Your Next Client
Yes, anyone can walk through a house with a video camera but filming a space in a way that captivates the viewer requires a more creative and artistic approach. Open2view video services include filming, editing, color enhancing and customisation for your websites and social media.

And there you have it.  Three great examples of how a well produced video can take your property marketing efforts to the next level.  To find out more about our HD Video Tours and the other services Open2view have to offer, check out our Services Page on our website.

And if you’re on facebook, stop by and say hello to the team at Open2view Christchurch South 

Local Body Elections: Christchurch mayoral candidates on housing

Dalziel, Maxwell, LonsdaleIt’s that time of the electoral cycle where you get a big fat envelope in the mail, with short blurbs about hundreds of people trying to win your vote for everything from the Mayoral office to the local licensing trust.

Who on earth should you vote for? We decided to help you make an informed decision – at least, in an area we are quite passionate about.

Christchurch’s housing issues are, for obvious reasons, unique. We emailed some mayoral candidates to find their views on how the rebuild is progressing, the issues around building consents, and much more. Three candidates replied, including the two front runners, and we thank them all for their responses.

To ensure accuracy we’ve presented all answers in unabridged form. Click the links just below or read from start to finish; we’re all about choice here.

Enjoy, and hopefully this will help you in your difficult decision-making. Most of all, make sure you vote!

Are you happy with the administration and progress of the rebuilding effort so far? What would you change about it if elected?

Are you concerned about how the Reserve Bank’s new loan to value ratio restrictions might affect first home buyers in Christchurch?

Do you think the building consent process is going fast enough, and if not how would you address this?

Auckland and Christchurch property prices seem to be growing far quicker than anywhere else. Do you see this as a problem? What would you think should be done to address accelerating house prices?

What would you do, if elected, to help ensure there are enough affordable houses being built?

Does the Council have a role to play in providing housing for those who can’t afford to buy?

Finally, is there any other reason why Cantabrians should vote for you as Mayor?

Continue reading

August Property Report: too many flyers, not enough houses

Coming home from the office last Thursday, I opened my letterbox to find this:

five flyers

That’s – count them – five real estate flyers arriving in my letterbox in just one day, from agents asking if I’d like them to sell my house. To which the answer is sure, as long as my landlord doesn’t find out.

All this fighting for my love is a telling indication of how heated property is here in Auckland. Exhibit B: my neighbour’s house was listed two weeks ago with an auction to be held in three weeks. It sold in just one.

So there’s some anecdotal evidence. I suppose you want some actual data too, right? Very well:


Some actual data

August set a few more records, according to our friends at

Auckland and Coromandel reached new asking price. Auckland, despite more listings, hit an all time low of just 11 weeks worth of inventory. Waikato and Bay of Plenty also have fewer houses available than ever.

If we compare the headline figures to last year, the national mean asking price is up 9% on August 2012, listings are up 3.4% and inventory is down 14%. In short, there ain’t enough houses coming on the market to keep choice, or price, at an acceptable level for buyers. Check out the full report here.

Meanwhile, QV just released their latest stats showing property prices have increased 8.5% in the last year. This is, again, largely driven by Auckland and Canterbury; most regions, while up on last year, are far behind. They expect house prices to increase “for some time yet.”


Some alternative views on Auckland

Some schools of thought argue that Auckland’s price growth is not as terrible as it seems.

Figures released last month by Barfoot & Thompson suggest the Auckland market has seen “solid, rather than spectacular gains.” A look at three bedroom properties by area, over the past decade, show price rises ranging from 58% (Franklin/rural Manukau) to 100% (West Auckland). Most of the increases came during the 2003-07 boom period.

QV, curiously, reckons the jump happened the other way round:

…over the past decade Auckland has increased 87 per cent compared to 88 per cent for all New Zealand. In fact, many other parts of the country increased in value much quicker than Auckland during the boom years of 2003-2007. After this time the rate of increase skyrocketed in Auckland compared to the most of the country, bar Christchurch.

They provide some other interesting stats also:

  • Auckland has nearly 418,000 houses, flats and apartments – 31.1% of the nationwide total.
  • With a 2012 population of 1.5 million, this equates to nearly 3.6 people per property.
  • From 2007-12 Auckland’s population grew by 111,500. There were only 25,850 building consents over that period. If we were to divide one by the other, that gives us 4.3 new Aucklanders per new property. Clearly, supply is an issue. Auckland needs to up its building consents game.


Some houses, but is it enough?

That was the topic of a recent article by Alistair Helm over at Properazzi. As he says, for the first time since November 2008 the number of consents in a 12 month period has exceeded 19,000.

Is this good? Well, the 1970s saw annual consent figures of over 35,000. Numbers at the turn of this century exceeded 30,000. So clearly we still have more catching up to do.

Interestingly, the nationwide average number of people per household is 2.67, slightly higher than before the Global Financial Crisis (where young people opted to bug their parents a wee while longer) but still lower than in Auckland alone.

It wasn’t just young folk who were slow to get moving during the GFC; construction plummeted during this period as Alistair’s chart shows:


The estimated shortfall over this period, according to Alistair, is 38,000 properties. Ouch.

The Auckland Council reckon they’re onto it though. The Housing Accord was approved yesterday, the legislation around it has already passed, and now they have a timetable drawn up for their first “special housing areas” – those parts where consents will be fast-tracked.

All going well, we’ll see SHAs containing at least 5000 new homes approved by Christmas. The end goal is 39,000 homes in three years. Can it be done? As says, it’ll be tough:

The moot point that will remain is who will undertake all the developments and can the 39,000 in three years target be achieved.

Auckland did achieve 12,000 new houses in a year briefly in the early 2000s, but the figure’s averaged closer to 4000 a year in recent years and the long running (20-year) average is only 7400 a year.

The other potential snag in ramping up development in Auckland is that the rebuilding of Christchurch means there will be huge competition for labour and resources.


Some of your thoughts

Are prices too high where you are? Are we too worried about Auckland? Got any stories you’d like to share? Ready to put up the “No Junk Mail” sign? Tell us all about it in the comments or over on Facebook.

July Property Report: big stats, curious theories and Auckland refugees


A new month means new data and a bunch of new questions to ponder. Onwards:


So, how’s it going?

The July edition of the NZ Property Report from broke a couple of records.

The national asking price of $465,191, up 8.4% from July 2012, has never been higher. Nor have the asking prices in Auckland ($639,685), Canterbury ($422,043) and the West Coast ($318,816).

New listings are coming thick and fast for this time of year. Numbering 9857 last month, this is up 9% on June’s rather low figure and 5% higher than this time last year. This influx is good news, but with buyers not taking the winter off it wasn’t quite enough to keep the asking price from rising.


What are the banks saying?

The BNZ’s Tony Alexander sees prices continuing to rise for a while yet. He puts this down to a number of factors that include first home buyers and investors making up for four years of inactivity, a looming builder shortage, and sellers still being nervous nellies. As for agents, “each listing gained is a guaranteed pay check. [sic; it’s spelled “cheque” round these parts.]”

ASB keeps tabs on the Canterbury economy via something they like to call the ‘Cantometer Index’. We’ll take a closer look at it one of these days; in the meantime it ticked upwards in July to 0.9 thanks to plenty of housing and construction activity.

The Christchurch real estate market is behaving much as you’d expect: supply is tight, demand is firm, thus prices climb. As long as building consents continue to flow in, and out again, this pressure should eventually ease.

And Westpac has come out and agreed with pretty much everything we’ve said about the Reserve Bank’s forever-looming Loan to Value Ratio restrictions. Namely, it’s awful for first home buyers and a boon for their rivals in the market – property investors.

Restrictions on low equity mortgages mean less competition for investors from first timers who, perversely, will wind up renting houses they wanted to buy from the investors they can no longer compete with. Good times.


Wait, aren’t you forgetting something?

In last Saturday’s Weekend Herald, Simon Collins spelled out his ‘five steps to restoring an affordable housing market.’ They are, in short:

  1. Government to provide low-interest lending for first home buyers, plus buying more land for development.
  2. More equality through compulsory union membership and progressive taxation.
  3. Tax rebates for first home owners, fewer tax advantages for investors.
  4. More lending limits and controls.
  5. Restricting, or banning, foreign investment in housing.

There are some problems with each of these:

  1. First home buyers are very active in the market, and as we’ve said when others suggested similar policies, it’ll only further fuel demand and push house prices up. Demand isn’t the issue.
  2. A “culture of high pay” isn’t the issue either; it’s more about the ratio of incomes to house prices, which is being pushed ever further apart. Higher incomes for everyone is ideal – but it won’t really impact house prices if another important factor isn’t addressed.
  3. Bernard Hickey once said that the economy is essentially a “housing market with a few other things tacked on”. A Capital Gains Tax may diversify investments. It still isn’t the issue that needs to be tackled.
  4. The LVR controls planned by the Reserve Bank is part of this. Don’t expect any exchange controls though; we haven’t had anything like that since 1984 and in this free market economy we never will.
  5. Won’t change anything.

The biggest problem with Collins’ prescription is something we hinted at above; the complete absence of anything around supply. It’s a lack of supply – specifically land scarcity, too few listings and a lack of construction – that is pushing prices up and up.

Until the causes are addressed, fighting the symptoms won’t cure anything.


Will the last person to leave Auckland please turn off the lights?

Appearing in our inbox earlier last month were a series of articles on a similar theme:

“Auckland’s rampant house market is creating a nationwide group of middle-class refugees – sick of the overheated prices and willing to trade the big city for a better quality of life in the regions.”

One transplanted Aucklander is looking to sell her Nelson home for $372,000 – a place that would likely have costed $1 million in Herne Bay. And if she can’t sell?  Another summer in Nelson isn’t the worst thing to go through.

Meanwhile, another sold her Mt Albert home for $1 million, bought a house in Kerikeri for $400,000 and banked the difference.

Is this the start of a massive reverse migration out of Auckland? No. It’s still the place to be for young professionals and new migrants. A number of people, however, are fed up and looking elsewhere, which might cause some higher prices in the regions. Be nice to your new neighbours.


What do you reckon?

Are you an Auckland refugee wannabe? Did Simon Collins deliberately forget about supply? Are the banks making sense? Is the market? Is anyone? Sound off below or on our Facebook page.