House values up south of the tracks
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.’’