Building activity on the rise
When you get on an electric powered treadmill at the gym, you’ve got to move briskly and be paying close attention or pretty soon you’ll find yourself flat on your back, bright red with embarrassment. The property market is proving to be quite similar; keep up with the speed of change or risk being thrown off and unable to remount.
The pace of building new homes has increased in cosmopolitan Palmerston North and greater Manawatu as interest comes from savvy locals, plus investors looking outside Auckland Wellington and Christchurch.
‘‘They appreciate the value for money available in Palmerston North, Ashhurst and Feilding,’’ says Trevor Low of GJ Gardner, ‘‘and we’re also seeing building accelerate down into Horowhenua, Waitarere Beach and Foxton as Transmission Gully goes ahead.’’
Trevor says they have seen as much as a 40 per cent increase in business over the last year because of low interest rates and demand from first home owners and investors.
‘‘Take Feilding for example where you can get really good value for money. It’s a great township and only 15 minutes drive to Palmerston North. With the maturation of many people’s Kiwisaver accounts and maybe qualifying for a home starter loan, suddenly they can afford a new build.’’
Trevor adds that it’s not good luck but good management that has seen GJ Gardner continuing to supply good value and a quality build in a timely manner.
Fowler Homes has a similar tale of increased demand from outside investors.
Franchise owner Shane Walker says a lack of good quality secondhand houses awakens people to the possibility of spending their money wisely on something custom built to suit their specific requirements.
‘‘It’s become a much more viable option and long term better investment to build than renovate, when you consider having to retrofit all the double glazing, insulation etcetera.’’
Shane says they are busy building in Palmerston North and have also constructed in Bulls, Sanson, Foxton, Waitarere Beach and Levin. Fowler Homes has also seen an increase in demand from the Wellington region thanks to Transmission Gully.
Having quick access to Wellington and the Hutt Valley makes building along the western coastline much more attractive. Shane agrees the 45 years plus demographic has seen the long term potential of selling their capital city properties and getting better value for money outside Greater Wellington.
Fowler Homes has also seen an increase in people building on lifestyle properties.
Shane suggests they may have owned the sections for a while but the demand for housing and the economic climate is making building a new house a good option.
Mortgage rates are low and property values are increasing due to sort supply, making building a new home a good investment.
‘‘What we’re all needing is more sections, new subdivisions to keep up with demand,’’ Shane concurs.
Occupying themselves more locally is Palmerston North’s longest standing building company Japac Homes.
Japac has maintained a steady pace building on available sections and in-fills but over the last six months owners Paul and Janine Haydock say business has gone through the roof.
‘‘We’ve seen easily a 40 per cent increase in business and now have 20 houses on the go,’’ says Paul Haydock.’’There’s a real mixture of people coming to the city including some from Christchurch and several from Auckland.’’
The Christchurch earthquakes have seen some people returning home to Manawatu and others finding employment here in Palmerston North. ‘‘We’re building a house for an Auckland couple at the moment and they’re very happy with a brand new Japac house and section at around $500K. They would have paid twice as much for it in Auckland and they’ve still got change from their own Auckland house sale to live on.’’
The opening of the new Woodgate subdivision on Fitzherbert Ave East plus sections on Roberts Line and at the top of Atawhai Road have Japac working consistently with a loyal team.
‘‘Palmerston North has got some really good building companies now,’’ says Paul.’’We’re all well respected and we all know how to build good houses. The cowboys aren’t out there. It’s very encouraging.’’