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.