Prop­erty rush hits CHB in­vestors

Mar­ket boom­ing as Covid-weary buy­ers aban­don city life

CHB Mail - - FRONT PAGE - Shan­non John­stone

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.

Photo / Sup­plied

Kerry Mee­han (cen­tre) shifted from Napier to Waipuku­rau in 2019 as she wanted a big­ger sec­tion for the busi­ness she runs with her hus­band.

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