Greytown’s main street. PHOTO/JADE CVETKOV

BECKIE WILSON

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Wairarapa remains an obvious option for house hunters from over the hill wanting to get a good buy even though the market appears to be slowing.

The price margin to buy in Wairarapa and commute is still more desirable than buying Wellington city, says REINZ regional spokesperson Mark Coffey.

South Wairarapa continues to outshine the rest of the region with increases across the board, but the rest of Wairarapa, not to mention the rest of the country is not experiencing the same growth.

The latest figures show the median house price for Masterton experienced no change and remained at $325,000 last month, but was up 18.2 per cent over the year to October.

Carterton’s median house price was $327,000 having dropped less than one per cent in a month, and dropped 2.4 per cent since October last year.

However, the South Wairarapa median house price sat at a healthy $475,000, up 31.9 per cent in a month, and 35.3 per cent since October last year.

Although the median house price is impressive, it was skewed by the sale of two million-dollar homes during the month.

This was a home on Greytown’s Kuratawhiti St which sold for $1.65m, and another on Wood St for $1.1m.

The median price was based on 19 sales across the district with these two property sales having bumped up the median price.

These prices across Wairarapa were not deterring people from opting for the rural lifestyle, Mr Coffey said.

“But it will reach a point where people have to offset the costs of commute to the cost of housing, at the moment there is still a margin for people who can buy for less than they perhaps can on the Wellington side of the hill, and still commute and enjoy the lifestyle over there and get compensated for the time they are driving,” Mr Coffey said.

“But of course, if those prices close up too much, people would be more hesitant to pay a premium to live [in Wairarapa] at this stage.”

Wellington prices control this – if the prices go up steadily on both sides of the hill, the margins stay the same and the attraction will always be there, he said.

“But if values plateau on the Wellington side, then that will probably stop people going across the hill.”

Wairarapa is competing with the lower value, less desirable suburbs of Wellington such as Stokes Valley and Wainuiomata, he said.

For example, a four-bedroom home on Featherston’s Wallace St is on the market for $299,000.

Compared to a three-bedroom home on Hair St in Wainuiomata for $259,000.

At this stage in the market, Wairarapa offers a nice climate and is seen as a destination.

“It’s not just about the cost of the housing, it’s just a nice destination… whereas you get people who just want to buy a cheap house, but don’t necessarily like the area but they will just grin and bear it.”

“But for Wairarapa, it’s remoteness from their work is a factor for people but they still see it as a desirable destination, not just a cheap suburb,” Mr Coffey said.

According to the figures, the Auckland region fell by 3.2 per cent year on year to $850,000 – the biggest fall since December 2010.