Section sales hot property in North Canterbury

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Photo: File image
Photo: File image
Covid-19 uncertainty is creating a building boom in North Canterbury.

North Islanders looking for a change of lifestyle due to the pandemic are showing a lot of interest in the region, with Aucklanders in particular leading the charge, according to real estate agents in North Canterbury.

Bayleys Rangiora manager Ross Ditmer said about 25 per cent of enquiries to his office are from North Islanders, while overseas enquiries have dropped in the last 12 months.

"Section sales have gone through the roof. In Ravenswood, every time there’s another release, there’s people already on the books."

Photo: Townsendfields.co.nz
Photo: Townsendfields.co.nz
Harcourts Four Seasons sales consultant Christine Tallot said Rangiora’s Townsend Fields subdivision is attracting a range of people from first home-buyers in their mid-30s to retirees.

"We’ve had people from Auckland coming here for the lifestyle," she says.

"They see Canterbury as offering a lot more. One couple said Auckland has too much happening."

Ditmer said working from home, lifestyle and proximity to Christchurch are among the key drivers.

Affordability is another factor, as while median house prices are hitting record highs in Canterbury, it is still much cheaper than Auckland.

Last year Waimakariri District Council issued 928 consents for new houses, up from less than 600 in 2020.

Council planning and regulation manager Tracy Tierney said 2021 was the busiest year since before the earthquakes, when more than 1000 consents a year were issued in 2012, 2013 and 2014.

She expected the growth to continue this year.

The Hurunui district has seen a similar jump, with 175 consents for new houses issued last year compared to 104 in 2020.

Hurunui District Council building and property manager Kerry Walsh said holiday homes are the main driver at Hanmer Springs, while Amberley has a new subdivision and a retirement village.

He expects the numbers to decrease this year.

Kaikoura has had a quieter year, with just 14 consents issued for new houses. But there is still plenty of interest in holiday homes, a Kaikoura District Council spokesperson said.

Photo: Getty Images
Photo: Getty Images
Woodend is leading Waimakariri’s building boom with 214 consents, on the back of the growing Ravenswood subdivision.

Kaiapoi was not far behind with 194 consents as the Silverstream subdivision continues to attract buyers.

A further 161 consents were issued in Rangiora, led by Townsend Fields, 147 in Pegasus and 155 in rural areas.

Just three consents were issued in Oxford.

While there is a building boom, it is not getting any easier for people on low incomes and those stuck in the "rental trap".

Ditmer said Canterbury’s housing stock is "very low", with only a third of the property listings there were a few years ago.

Properties are scarce in the Hurunui district, with just three for sale in Hanmer Springs last week, he said.

Rental properties are also scarce.

Last week there were just five rental properties listed in Rangiora, and 23 across the Waimakariri district, Ditmer said.

Just a few years ago there were regularly up to 50 rental properties listed in Rangiora alone.

Waimakariri Deputy Mayor Neville Atkinson said the district council will be taking a closer look at the rental market this year.

"Anecdotally, I have heard of someone who applied for 34 rentals before finally getting one and I’ve had another two or three asking questions, so we need to do some work to find out what’s changed in the last few months."

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