Homeowner’s dream alive
With rising prices and soaring demand, is first-home ownership a dying dream in Wairarapa?
Try telling Jessie Pottinger that.
Despite values throughout Wairarapa going up by around 21 per cent, the young Wellington expat swooped in and bought her first home in Featherston last December.
‘‘For the price I paid here you might find something in the Hutt, but it wouldn’t be anything like this,’’ she said.
‘‘This house has two bedrooms, a big attic and a large backyard.’’
Featherston proved an ideal location for Pottinger, in the same way it has for many who have flocked there. She still works in Wellington, and her trip to work is rarely more than an hour.
‘‘I hadn’t even spent a night here before buying this place, but Featherston has turned out to be a very welcoming community.’’
Pottinger is just one of many first home buyers who have moved to towns through Wairarapa, particularly Featherston, enticed by larger properties and relatively inexpensive prices.
Although houses remain affordable for now, values are certainly rising. In South Wairarapa the average is now $394,000, up from $325,000 a year ago.
Pottinger’s house cost around $240,000. She said she’d noticed the price rises from afar; one house she’d spotted on Trade Me went up over $20,000 in the course of a year.
‘‘(Ownership is) definitely not out of reach,’’ Pottinger said, ‘‘although I did get financial help from my family, as well as Kiwisaver funds and a government grant on top of my own savings.’’
Property Brokers’ Guy Mordaunt said across the board price rises could make it difficult for first home buyers in the future, although not at the moment.
‘‘If you’re looking in the region of $250,000, Wairarapa is really the only place you’ll find a nice house for that price,’’ he said.
‘‘Over the past year we’ve seen a big rise in first home buyers in the region. Especially when you compare it to other places around the area, like Wellington and Kapiti, it’s still a good place for that.’’
First home buyer Jessie Pottinger stands outside her house in Featherston. Despite recent price hikes, many say Wairarapa is still a good place to find cheaper houses.