Sale of sections put down to prices elsewhere

Real estate agent Rebecca Ireland crouches beside a recently sold section in Omakau. Photos by Jono Edwards.
Real estate agent Rebecca Ireland beside a recently sold section. Photos by Jono Edwards.
The Central Otago town of Omakau.
The Central Otago town of Omakau.

The small rural town of Omakau is proving popular with home buyers, but sections may soon run out.

Alexandra developer Russell Checketts said that after a long lull, seven sections had sold in the past few months in the 34-lot Tiger Hill Estate subdivision, created in 2005.

''We only have three left. Fifteen were sold quite rapidly, but then people lost confidence with the Global Financial Crisis.''

He put the sudden interest down to increasing house prices in towns such as Alexandra, and renewed faith in the market.

''It's the lemming principle. Everyone is looking to buy land now.''

Many of the sections sold recently were bought by young families with ties to the area,
Mr Checketts said.

Southern Wide Real Estate Central Otago branch manager Rebecca Ireland said Tiger Hill Estate was the only residential subdivision in the town.

''There are very few sections in Omakau or Ophir. Ophir is a little bit more expensive because people like the history of it.

''It's the same in places like Ranfurly, where the houses are also a bit cheaper. Our branch there is very busy at the moment.''

Omakau Beautification Society chairman Lloyd Harris said a lack of sections was something the council would have to assess.

''But, overall, it's good for the community. People are moving from Alexandra and Wanaka.''

There were now about nine dairy farms in the area, whereas there used to be none, he said.

It was a tight-knit community.

''We get a lot of people along when the school has fundraisers.''

Omakau and Ophir also benefited from tourism generated by the Otago Central Rail Trail, Mr Harris said.

The group was planning to plant tussocks and erect new signs at the entrances to the town, he said.

Central Otago District Council planning and environment manager Louise van der Voort said the council had scheduled a workshop for March next year with the Vincent Community Board to discuss the rezoning of land in the area to residential as part of its district plan review process.

In 2014, the town had a population of about 260.

jono.edwards@odt.co.nz

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