House val­ues up south of the tracks

The Southland Times - - FRONT PAGE - EVAN HARDING

Res­i­den­tial prop­erty val­ues in south In­ver­cargill and Bluff have risen by more than 25 per cent in the past three years, out­strip­ping the val­u­a­tion rises in the more ex­pen­sive north In­ver­cargill sub­urbs, QV fig­ures say.

Although prop­erty val­ues con­tinue to be con­sid­er­ably higher in the north of the city, the slight clos­ing of the gap has been wel­comed by Bluff and south In­ver­cargill res­i­dents.

All prop­erty own­ers in In­ver­cargill and Bluff will soon re­ceive an up­dated rat­ing value for their prop­er­ties, which is the es­ti­mated price their prop­er­ties would sell for at the time the val­u­a­tion was done in July.

The coun­cil uses the prop­erty val­u­a­tions to help set rates for its res­i­dents in the next three years.

The fig­ures re­veal res­i­den­tial prop­erty val­ues over­all in the city coun­cil catch­ment are 18 per cent higher than they were three years ago.

The av­er­age res­i­den­tial prop­erty in the In­ver­cargill City Coun­cil catch­ment is now val­ued at $254,000, up from $210,000 in 2014. When the fig­ures are bro­ken down into ar­eas, Bluff and south In­ver­cargill have the high­est in­creases, up 25.9 and 25.3 per cent re­spec­tively.

De­spite this, their av­er­age prop­erty val­ues of $155,600 for Bluff and $186,500 for south In­ver­cargill are still well be­low the top two ar­eas of Otatara [$402,000] and ‘‘Glad­stone, Ave­nal’’ [$366,000].

Quotable Value se­nior con­sul­tant Tim Gib­son said the ‘‘low-end’’ mar­ket had seen big­ger prop­erty value in­creases than at the top end, and it was a trend re­peated through­out many parts of the coun­try.

‘‘It’s af­ford­abil­ity, con­tin­u­a­tion of low in­ter­est rates.’’

In­ver­cargill deputy mayor Re­becca Amund­sen wel­comed the news, say­ing it ‘‘I think it’s one hel­luva place.’’

For Chris­tine Aro and her part­ner Richard Baker, sell­ing their Auck­land apart­ment rep­re­sented a chance to make a life­style change from the hus­tle and bus­tle of the city.

Af­ter ini­tially look­ing in In­ver­cargill, they fell in love with a house in Bluff, which has dis­played the high­est av­er­age growth for dwelling val­ues in the new Quotable Value fig­ures.

‘‘You look down straight out to port. It would be a $2 mil­lion view in Auck­land.’’ Aro said.

Hav­ing been in the south for six weeks, the friend­li­ness of the lo­cals has was about time. She hoped it was be­cause the per­cep­tion that one part of the city was bet­ter to live in than an­other was start­ing to evap­o­rate.

‘‘It might show there’s an im­bal­ance in north In­ver­cargill house prices and it’s just a read­just­ment.’’

The pub­lic per­cep­tion of south In­ver­cargill was con­tin­u­ally im­prov­ing, borne stood out to the cou­ple. The feel­ing of be­ing con­nected to the com­mu­nity was a ma­jor dif­fer­ence from city liv­ing.

‘‘Ev­ery­body here is so laid back and cool and help­ful,’’ Aro said. ‘‘Any­body in the street, it doesn’t mat­ter if you don’t know them, they’d help you out.’’

She was not sur­prised to hear about the per­for­mance of Bluff prop­er­ties in the fig­ures, hav­ing seen clear ev­i­dence of on­go­ing ren­o­va­tions and prop­erty im­prove­ments in the neigh­bour­hood.

The av­er­age value of houses in Bluff had in­creased by 25.9 per cent to $155,600 in the past three years, with a mod­est out in sur­veys, she said. Peo­ple mov­ing to the city did not have pre­con­ceived ideas about south In­ver­cargill, while good work had been done by South Alive to make the area more at­trac­tive and the south city shop­ping com­plex had been spruced up.

South Alive man­ager Cress Evans said south In­ver­cargill and Bluff both had land in­crease of 0.8 per cent to $30,500.

With growth came con­cern that the spe­cial char­ac­ter of the town could be lost.

‘‘I’m not go­ing to tell ev­ery­one this is a prime real es­tate area,’’ Aro said.

‘‘I don’t want it to change too much.’’

Har­courts res­i­den­tial sales con­sul­tant Mon­ica Cairns said there had been plenty of in­ter­est in Bluff prop­er­ties re­cently, with houses sell­ing to buy­ers from Auck­land, Tau­ranga and Waihi in re­cent months.

She be­lieved the low cost of sea­side liv­ing com­pared to other re­gions of New ur­ban re­ju­ve­na­tion at their core.

As such, she did not be­lieve it was a co­in­ci­dence their val­ues had in­creased more than other ar­eas. The com­mu­nity had made it hap­pen, she said.

Bluff Com­mu­nity Board chair­man Ray Fife was sur­prised to hear house val­ues had risen 25.9 per cent in the past three years. But then he was quick to sing Bluff’s virtues, point­ing out its many homes with sea­side views and the laid­back life­style.

‘‘It’s an in­di­ca­tion Bluff is go­ing ahead and it’s shown in the in­crease in house val­ues.’’

Pro­fes­sion­als gen­eral man­ager Jon Irv­ing said sales had been great in all of In­ver­cargill in the 12 months to the end of Au­gust, but had slowed in Septem­ber.

Across the en­tire city coun­cil catch­ment - which in­cludes In­ver­cargill, Bluff and farm and life­style blocks - prop­erty val­ues rose 13.4 per cent over­all between 2014 and 2017. This com­pares favourably to the pe­riod between 2011 and 2014, when the val­u­a­tion rise was lit­tle more than 1 per cent, QV fig­ures show.

‘‘A lot of the growth oc­curred in 2016 and into 2017. It’s mar­ket driven, there’s de­mand there,’’ Gib­son, of QV, said.

While land val­ues in the Wind­sor area had in­creased by 45 per cent, the farm­ing sec­tor in the city coun­cil area had seen growth of just 2.1 per cent.

Life­style prop­erty val­ues in­creased by 11.4 per cent over­all in the past three years. In Queen­stown, res­i­den­tial prop­erty val­ues rose by more than 63 per cent in that time. Zealand made the area par­tic­u­larly ap­peal­ing. The open­ness of lo­cals to new res­i­dents was an­other ma­jor pos­i­tive for Bluff she said.

‘‘The op­por­tu­nity to own a prop­erty with a view of the sea for a frac­tion of the price any­where else in New Zealand is very ap­peal­ing.’’ she said. ‘‘The com­mu­nity is very wel­com­ing for those peo­ple form out of the area.’’

De­mand in Bluff was out­strip­ping sup­ply of prop­er­ties, although she ex­pected more prop­er­ties would come onto the mar­ket lead­ing into the sum­mer months.

For one for­mer north­ern cou­ple at least, they are glad to have found their dream South­land home. ‘‘I think it was the best thing we ever did.’’

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