Af­ford­able home? How about this?

The Napier Mail - - FRONT PAGE - TOMMY LIV­INGSTON

While peo­ple in the city are strug­gling to get a foot on the prop­erty lad­der, a 112-year-old coun­try home­stead is up for grabs in Cen­tral Hawke’s Bay for less than the av­er­age cost of a three­bed­room Auck­land or Welling­ton home.

The two-storey home­stead, in the com­mu­nity of Omakere, comes with five bed­rooms, a wine store­room, tennis court, pond, for­mal lounge and 4.4 hectares.

The down­side: no cell­phone re­cep­tion, and a 15-minute drive to get a cof­fee.

Of­fers over $574,000 are be­ing con­sid­ered for the prop­erty, but own­ers John and Karen Mor­rell are hope­ful they will sell it for more than $600,000.

‘‘I think the re­al­ity, par­tic­u­larly in Auck­land the way prices are go­ing, is it be­comes pro­hib­i­tive for peo­ple to as­pire to own this kind of prop­erty, even within a 20-kilo­me­tre ra­dius of Auck­land,’’ John Mor­rell said.

‘‘If you move to Hawke’s Bay, which to me is the best area of New Zealand, and get a prop­erty like this for the price of a three­bed­room house in maybe South Auck­land ... it is a fan­tas­tic op­por­tu­nity.’’

Craig Lowe, di­rec­tor of Lowe & Co Realty, said a house of a sim­i­lar size in Welling­ton would likely sell for more than $1 mil­lion.

‘‘$800,000 buys you pretty much a good, well-ren­o­vated three­bed­room place in the east­ern sub­urbs.

‘‘Two years ago the av­er­age price was $600,000 – that has been the change in the last 18 months.’’

Ac­cord­ing to the Real Es­tate In­sti­tute, the me­dian house price in Auck­land fell a sea­son­ally ad­justed 1.7 per cent last month to $800,000.

The Mor­rells bought the prop­erty in 2000 while liv­ing in Welling­ton, and since then John has run his busi­ness from the house.

‘‘I was hav­ing a cof­fee when we lived in Welling­ton and I saw an ar­ti­cle in The Do­min­ion which fea­tured this prop­erty ... I thought, ‘Wow, that looks like an in­trigu­ing kind of prop­erty’... We came out here and ba­si­cally fell in love with it.

‘‘The over­all en­vi­ron­ment is what I like about it. It is the house, plus where it is lo­cated.’’

The cou­ple were mov­ing to be closer to fam­ily, but said they would miss the ‘‘Omakere traf­fic jams’’ – sheep on the road.

‘‘It is quite easy to say, ‘I am jeal­ous of where you live’, but the chal­lenge is mak­ing the move.

‘‘A lot of peo­ple kind of love the idea but can’t quite get the courage to break away. Peo­ple said we were brave, it’s no big deal,’’ Mor­rell said.

‘‘It is an hour from here to Napier air­port. It used to take me an hour and half to go from Browns Bay to Auck­land air­port.’’

The wooden house, which is 10 min­utes from the east coast, fea­tures matai pan­elling, and the gar­den in­cludes Cal­i­for­nian red­woods and English oaks.

Farm­lands real es­tate agent Anne Wil­son, who listed the prop­erty, said there had been in­ter­est from all over the coun­try.

Mor­rell said: ‘‘It would suit some­one who is want­ing to live in the coun­try, what I call the real New Zealand, and be pre­pared to en­joy the en­vi­ron­ment [here].‘‘

PHOTO: JOHN COWPLAND/ FAIRFAX NZ

The prop­erty fea­tures a large lawn area and tennis court.

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