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One of New Zealand's smallest cities is attempting to lure Aucklanders by cashing in on its cheap housing, ample employment opportunities and warmer weather.
A campaign led by Bayleys Real Estate and backed by the Gisborne District Council and the Chamber of Commerce is being launched, and will include a two-day expo in February in Auckland to show city-dwellers they can afford the house of their dreams if they are prepared to travel six hours to get it.
Bayleys Gisborne manager Karen Raureti said about once a week the office fielded inquiries from out-of-towners - mainly Aucklanders - looking for a warmer climate and more affordable housing.
Ms Raureti said they were mainly people looking to retire, but the city was also "screaming out for younger professional families".
She said in the past there appeared to be a perception that Gisborne wasn't a place where you could be successful because it was out on a limb. However she said there were plenty of jobs available and the lifestyle couldn't be beaten with no traffic and the city and beach are only 10 minutes away. Last week her husband popped home from work during his lunch break and had a swim.
House prices were also a big drawcard. Gisborne's median house price of $253,000 last month was significantly less than half of Auckland's, which reached $540,000 during the same period.
There was also plenty of land and plenty of houses available. A brand new house with a double garage, four bedrooms and two living areas on an 800sq m section could be bought in the Copperfields Estate subdivision for about $400,000 because of cheap land prices. A three bedroom home with a garage could be picked up for about $220,000.
Gisborne mayor Meng Foon wanted to see more entrepreneurs and people who ran e-businesses move to Gisborne.
Already 30 online businesses from larger New Zealand cities and other parts of the world had relocated to Gisborne while still maintaining their customer bases. There were also more than 28,000 businesses operating in the district.
"We are a pro-active region, promoting our lifestyle to the rest of the world and we want businesses to set-up here. And that's probably one of the easiest ways to do that and be practical about it as well," Mr Foon said.
"I suppose it's quicker to fly from Gisborne to Auckland (50 minutes) than to drive from the North Shore over to the city sometimes."
An economic report carried out by the district council pointed to strong growth potential in the horticulture and agricultural industries, while Tairawhiti District Hospital has 14 job vacancies.
Weighing it up
Median house price
Mean temp Dec.
Annual sunshine hours
Annual wet days
Gisborne: Rhythm and Vines, chardonnay capital of New Zealand
Auckland: Christmas in the Park, Sky Tower, City of Sails
- Nikki Preston of the NZ Herald