Horowhenua on the rise along with house prices


Horowhenua is ex­pe­ri­enc­ing a pop­u­la­tion ex­plo­sion as the district be­comes an in­creas­ingly pop­u­lar place to live.

In the year to June, Horowhenua’s pop­u­la­tion grew 1.8 per cent, which brought an ex­tra 600 res­i­dents to the district, which now houses 32,500 peo­ple in to­tal.

In the year end­ing June 2016, the district’s growth was also 1.6 per cent, shoot­ing past the 10-year av­er­age, from 2007 to 2016, of 0.4 per cent.

Horowhenua Eco­nomic De­vel­op­ment Board chair­man Cam Lewis said the pop­u­la­tion growth had been above an­tic­i­pated for two years in a row.

The district’s growth would keep ac­cel­er­at­ing as Trans­mis­sion Gully and the taki-to-Levin sec­tion of the Welling­ton Ex­press­way were com­pleted, Lewis said.

With more peo­ple in the district, real es­tate agents are feel­ing the pres­sure as de­mand for houses ex­ceeds sup­ply.

Levin and Fox­ton Prop­erty Bro­kers branch man­ager Ro­han Teaz said ev­ery real es­tate com­pany in Horowhenua was down on list­ings. ‘‘There’s still more buy­ers than list­ings. ‘‘At the mo­ment, peo­ple are too scared to sell their own homes be­cause there’s nowhere to go to.’’

It was hard try­ing to find houses to sell, but it was great to see them sell­ing so fast, Teaz said.

Twelve months ago, prop­er­ties were on the mar­ket for 60-70 days, but now they sold within 15 days.

The av­er­age price for a Levin prop­erty was about $275,000, up about 15 per cent from the pre­vi­ous year, Teaz said.

‘‘There's still more buy­ers than list­ings.’’

With a short­age of houses on the mar­ket, build­ing new homes is prov­ing pop­u­lar. Louise Rob­bie, from Rob­bie Builders in Fox­ton, said the num­ber of new houses be­ing built ex­ceeded pre­vi­ous years.

In 2015/16, peo­ple were re­quest­ing small ad­di­tions to homes, but now there was a fre­quent flow of new con­struc­tions, Rob­bie said.

‘‘All through this year and right into next year we are build­ing houses.’’

Fox­ton and Levin had the shops and ser­vices peo­ple needed while still be­ing af­ford­able places to live, Rob­bie said.

‘‘From my ex­pe­ri­ence, it used to be as if we were sec­ond­hand cit­i­zens when you said you lived in Fox­ton. ‘‘Now, it’s a dif­fer­ent ap­proach.’’ Young, work­ing fam­i­lies were start­ing to move to Fox­ton, which gave the place a youth­ful feel, Rob­bie said.

For the past 10 years there was barely any in­ter­est in Rob­bie’s 13 sub­di­vided sec­tions, but now she had sold more than half of them.

‘‘Those sec­tions sat there with­out any in­ter­est, all this time. All of a sud­den it’s re­ally motor­ing ahead.’’

Horowhenua District Coun­cil eco­nomic de­vel­op­ment man­ager Shanon Grainger said in June, the coun­cil recorded the high­est value of res­i­den­tial build­ing con­sents on record, dat­ing back 27 years, when 27 new homes were con­sented.

There had also been a re­duc­tion in the num­ber of peo­ple on ben­e­fits, which was the great­est change in peo­ple’s lives, Grainger said.

‘‘More peo­ple in work means more fam­i­lies with salaries and wage earn­ers. This is what is needed if we are to re­duce the num­ber of peo­ple and chil­dren in poverty.’’

Fig­ures from the Min­istry of So­cial De­vel­op­ment for the Septem­ber 2017 quar­ter show the num­ber of job seek­ers re­duced by 6.1 per cent, com­pared with the Septem­ber 2016 quar­ter.

More than 1460 peo­ple sought work in the Septem­ber 2017 quar­ter, which is 95 fewer peo­ple than the same time last year.

The num­ber of Horowhenua res­i­dents on a so­cial wel­fare ben­e­fit de­creased from 3749 in 2013 to 3381 in 2017.

The Horowhenua re­gion is still af­ford­able and has many at­trac­tions that fam­i­lies are look­ing for, such as Fox­ton Beach.

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