By Beckie Wilson
Increasing interest in Wairarapa’s lifestyle has had a major flow-on effect to the building industry with yet another property boom.
“The demand has gone through the roof,” said Paul Southey, owner of A1 Homes Wairarapa in Greytown.
“It’s exciting more than anything.”
Value for money is a lure for the Aucklanders and Wellingtonians wanting to build in Wairarapa.
“People are thinking ‘hold on, I can build a brand-new house for about $500,000 or go around the corner and pay about $400,000 or so for an older house,” Mr Southey said.
Building a new house lets people choose colours and size, and guards against having to do maintenance for several years.
The number of lifestyle blocks sold in the region for the year ending October 2016 was 420, compared with 248 for the year ending October 2015, according to recently released data from Real Estate Institute NZ.
“Lifestyle blocks are mainly bought by Wellington people who love the Wairarapa feel.”
The rural life has seen an unusual increase driven by Wellington people coming with a good amount of money.
“They can buy a block for about $150,000 and have enough for a decent size house, some being 300sqm homes,” Mr Southey said.
The lifestyle and easy commute seem to be the major attractions to region, especially the people.
“I have people say to me how friendly Wairarapa people are, [they] love the openness and helpfulness.”
A1 Homes residential workload had doubled this year, driven by the Wellington and Auckland interest, Mr Southey said.
When the Reserve Bank relaxed lending rules about four or five months ago, interest in housing rose and local banks supported the lending, making it easier for buyers, he said.
“It was fantastic for the building industry, and the Wellington market went crazy.
The ages of people building in the region is across the board, with an increase in the under 30s bracket who can now afford a new home.
“It’s really interesting, a lot of downsizing to a two-bedroom, one-bathroom house for retirees as they want to invest more in campervans and buses.”
“There are 100 lots in Greytown, Carterton is going well, and Masterton is slowly ticking along with a few new sub-divisions.”
Another flow-on effect is the increase in job opportunities in the building industry.
At the start of the year the workload was “huge”, now it is “steady” and down to about a six month wait for a new home build.
Mr Southey said he had previous employees coming back to Wairarapa to work for him again now there were more jobs available.
Tracy Amos, owner of Amos Construction, said with their nine employees, six of which are qualified builders, they are keeping up with demand.
“Wellington people are moving up here. Auckland and Christchurch people are coming too,” she said.
The increase in demand is definitely there,with the baby-boomers in the fifty-year-old and older bracket seeming to be popular customers who are wanting to downsize.
“A lot of people are wanting three bedrooms and a bathroom with better features and space for vehicles and motor homes.”
She said the firm had just built a $850,000 home and it’s only a “weekend house”.
Mrs Amos said the trends noticed is Greytown is staying busy but activity in Carterton is rising rapidly.
Featherston is increasing, and Martinborough and Masterton are on par and steady with Eketahuna also having some new builds.