Business on the up in Omakau
A mini housing boom in Omakau and hordes of middle-aged cyclists passing through has business steadily climbing in the area.
The pub, cafe, Four Square and cycle tour businesses have a regular flow of people in and out the front doors.
Omakau Commercial Hotel owners Stacey Stevenson and Michael Thomas are full most nights throughout the summer thanks in part to being awarded the best country pub in New Zealand last year and a steady influx of people moving to the area.
‘‘It’s got a really good buzz about it at the moment,’’ says Stevenson of the town. ’’As far as people actually moving into the area, there has been a huge increase. That’s exciting.’’
When the couple took over the hotel 10 years ago, there was just one house in the Tiger Hill Estate subdivision, she says.
Now more and more families were making the town home.
‘‘I think a lot of it is affordability. It’s a great place to bring up kids. Omakau is just going to go from strength to strength really.’’
Builder Dave Cockburn moved his young family back to Omakau four years ago after moving away when he left high school.
‘‘The Omakau area has all you need,’’ he says. ‘‘It has great people and is a great place to bring up a family.‘‘
Cockburn employs 12 people, five from Omakau, and does 50 per cent of his business in town.
Building a new house is possible for young families in Omakau and with Alexandra just 15 minutes away, people see it as a more viable option with all of the same benefits, he says.
In the past 12 months Omakau has registered 24 sales, 16 of those residential sections.
Harcourts Alexandra manager John Petre compares that with 2015 where in Alexandra, a town with a population more than 20 times that of Omakau, not a single section was sold.
Omakau is benefiting from the high cost of housing in other areas, Petre says.
‘‘I believe people are looking for townships like Omakau for lifestyle and family reasons and this will continue to grow in the foreseeable future.’’
Central Otago prices remained about 90 per cent lower than Wanaka and Queenstown, a recent Harcourts report says.
‘‘It was only natural that people would start to seek out more affordable property in the surrounding areas.’’