This blog thing is really interesting. I am starting to get more email from readers. One reader has suggested I use Trackback which I have now added to the site. Thanks for the suggestion I will give it a try!

Another reader has asked how I am investing in New Zealand and Australia from Japan, so I thought I would write a little about this.

I bought my first IP when I was living in Australia. Actually I lived in the place for a year before I came to Japan. Since I bought the place to live in, the Australian government kindly gave me $7000 as a first home owner buyer’s grant. I painted the place and put up some new fixtures. I lived there for about a year before moving back to Japan. I bought it for $130K 4-5 years ago and now it is worth around $210K. I got the mortgage down to below $50K so I have plenty of equity for re-financing to make my first property purchase in New Zealand.

My property in New Zealand is actually 2 houses on one block. Settlement will be on the first week of March. Rental return is 13% in total, not including any capital gain. I paid AU$84K for the 2 houses. It’s in the country but I couldn’t believe how cheap it was. In Australia I saw a boat shed being auctioned for 80K+!

Looking for the place in NZ, I just called a number of agents in NZ in the morning before going to work (New Zealand is four hours behind Japan). I haven’t seen the place in person. I just got a lot of pictures from the agent and got a building inspection done to make sure the buildings are structurally sound.

I also joined the mailing list of the few bird-spotters who advertise. I am in fairly regular contact with one guy and will probably buy one property with him soon. He charges NZ$2000 a property. This is fairly cheap and considering he usually negotiates the price of the property down, I think it’s worth the money and definitely tax deductible.