Property rush hits CHB investors
Market booming as Covid-weary buyers abandon city life
The “insane” demand for Central Hawke’s Bay houses from people fleeing the city life in Napier and Hastings has been sent into overdrive by the Covid-19 crisis, real estate agents say.
Demandin the district has been growing for years, but Tremains central region general manager Stuart Christensen said the lockdown had flicked a switch for many.
Working from home was suddenly an option, and Hawke’s Bay residents have responded, starting to move purpose fully to where they can get more bang for their buck, he said.
“People through lockdown have realised ‘it’d be nice to have a bit of space around us’ and have moved purpose fully to have that more rural aspect.
“Lifestyle properties have definitely gone to adifferent level of demand post-Covid,” Christensen said.
“I think, through Covid, life has slowed down a bit, people have thought about what’s important, if they want a bit more space or whether or not they want neighbours right next to them.
“For some that doesn’t mean they want a farm, they just want a bit of extra ground and CHB definitely caters for that.”
Real Estate Institute data for August shows the median house price in CHBi s now over $400,000 – $425,000 compared to $395,000 in August 2019.
The CHB District Council data shows 42 per cent of residents did not live in the district five years ago and the average growth rate for the district is projected at 2 per cent or about 270 people a year for the next 10 years.
CHB Mayor Alex Walker said people have relocated from Europe, the UK and main city centres of New Zealand but people shifting from Napier and Hastings has grown the district the most in recent times.
She sees the growth as a positive thing and says the community does, too, so developing infrastructure and housing while retaining the small-town feel by promoting community connection is important.
“On the whole, weare experiencing is an energy, a vibrancy in the community with newskills, new businesses, which is really contributing to CHB being an amazing place to live.”
She believes people are moving to the district for themore affordable housing, weather and post Covid-19 lessening barriers to where and how people work.
Oneof the people who has made the shift is Kerry Meehan and her partner, Mike, who shifted to Waipukurau in January 2019 from Napier.
The couple were running their business, Little Gem Garden Centre, from their Napier home with 700 square metres of section and were looking for a bigger property withmore space to plant.
With land in Central Hawke’s Bay being cheaper than in Napier and Hastings they made the shift.
“We managed to get two acres here for slightly less than what we sold our property for in Napier,” Meehan said.
She says they have found it “fantastic” with their business going well, friendly locals and a better pace of life.
“Insane” demand meant it took them over a year to find their property, Meehan said. “Even whenwewere looking, lifestyle blocks here were being snapped up before open homes. Andthat was last January, that was just normal time.”
They also get a lot of customers who have made the shift from elsewhere in Hawke’s Bay.
“I think with all the Aucklanders moving into Napier and Hastings, the Napier and Hastings people are moving down this way.”
She said they hadn’t experienced any resistance from locals about people moving into town but feels like there ismore concern about the population growth impacting infrastructure rather than the people themselves moving in.
Christensen said buildingwas also booming in the district with “little pockets of subdivisions” scattered in the district.
Kerry Meehan (centre) shifted from Napier to Waipukurau in 2019 as she wanted a bigger section for the business she runs with her husband.