The entry-level Fendalton property zoned for the sought-after Burnside High and Christchurch girls and boys' high schools saw 41 groups traipse through its doors during its first weekend of open homes.
At one point 17 pairs of shoes lay outside the front door as people took their chance to view the property that last sold 30 years ago.
Harcourts Gold listing agent Mark O’Loughlin said it was almost double the number of people they had seen through open homes at the end of last year and even above the average 25 to 30 groups they expect through an entire three-week auction campaign.
“We’ve more people through in the first two days than in a normal three-week campaign.”
Some of those buyers had kids who had missed out on getting into their preferred schools so wanted to move into the area in time for school to start, while others had been warned about the difficulties of getting into these schools out of zone so were looking to future proof, he said.
“All the school zones are very tight and if you are not in the zone, you don’t go to the school.... If you live in the zone the school has to take them.”
The three-bedroom, one-bathroom 1950s house at 37 Wai-iti Tce was “very liveable” in its current condition but had the potential to be modernised, he said, so could appeal to people wanting to buy into the area of the schools or those looking for a 600sqm section to build their forever home on.
The street in Christchurch’s most expensive suburb had been redeveloped since the earthquakes with some older houses being bowled and replaced with significant homes resulting in houses there fetching anywhere between $1m and $3m.
Along with Fendalton and neighbouring Merrivale, which also shared the same sought-after school zones, O’Loughlin said there was also strong demand for houses within the Cashmere High School boundary.
And it’s not just Christchurch locals fighting for these good school zones, he said, but also younger families from Auckland, Hamilton, Tauranga and Wellington who were moving south for affordability and lifestyle.
“It’s all about lifestyle and ease of access. Christchurch is really becoming a high-technology advanced engineered city that’s flat and you’ve got access to mountain biking the beaches.”
Harcourts Grenadier salesperson Michelle Corkindale has helped a handful of North Island buyers settle in the city in the past few months.
She said they were great to deal with as they usually had a budget of $1m plus to spend, were cashed up and were decisive because they had a set timeframe they needed to buy in.
She recently worked with two Hamilton buyers who spent $1.290m and $1.1m respectively and were able to spend the same or a little bit less than what their previous homes sold for. One group was moving down for university and the other for a new job.
Corkindale said there were hardly any properties for sale in the Cashmere High School zone and they got snapped up as soon as they hit the market.
She’s about to list a renovated three-bedroom, two-bathroom home in the Cashmere High School zone which she expected to attract plenty of attention.
“People are driven by the school zones because particularly if they are moving in or haven’t been able to get into the school they want then they are looking and going somehow we’ve got to do it. Or they will talk to friends that haven’t got into the schools they want and are saying ‘well you have to move now’ - you’re kids are two years away, you have to move now.”
While there was still a shortage of properties for sale in Christchurch, this could ease in the next few weeks as more listings go live.
“These listings are just coming through now so we are actually short of stock at the moment, but it is making buyers make decisions... and even if you tell them there’s a lot more coming on some of them have got pressures – they are moving into Christchurch because the kids are at university or whatever – they've got time pressures and they can’t wait for the stock to come on.”
Nicholls had 14 open homes at the weekend including a property at 17 Parklea Ave, in Halswell, marketed at first home buyers or downsizers and a three-bedroom home on 63 Jennifer St in Bryndwr attracting between 15 and 20 groups through each. They have RVs of $940,000 and $790,000 respectively.
“Freestanding homes on their own title are receiving the most enquiry given the low stock, while the enquiry on townhouses is minimal due to the amount of them currently on the market.”
O’Loughlin agreed there were also a lot of first-home buyers on the hunt. A house at 36 Donnington St in Parklands that was a “good old meat, three veg type home for a first home buyer” has had 45 groups through so far and had a price indication around the high $500,0000s to early $600,000s.
By Nikki Preston - OneRoof.co.nz