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House prices through the roof

Property experts across the region said people were increasingly choosing to move to Wairarapa. PHOTO/STOCK.ADOBE.COM

Wairarapa property prices continue their relentless climb, with demand outstripping supply in all three districts as population increase puts pressure on housing supply.

April numbers from realestate.co.nz showed the average price for a property in Masterton was $637,147 and Carterton $687,437. A property in South Wairarapa cost an average of $868,235. Across the region, average prices hovered under $700,000, at $695,497.

The average national asking price was $839,035 in April, up slightly from $835,844 in March.

Year-on-year increases were unaffected by last year’s April lockdown, with Carterton up 15.5 per cent, or $92,437, Masterton up 7.6 per cent, or $45,259 and South Wairarapa up 50.3 per cent, or $290,735. The region far exceeded national performance, which was down 3.4 per cent year-on-year.

Listing numbers were unsurprisingly well up on this time last year, with Carterton at 26 against last year’s one listing, Masterton at 62, up from 9 and South Wairarapa at 26, up from 9.
In the nine years since April 2012, prices have gone up 123 per cent in Carterton, 152 per cent in Masterton and 149 per cent in South Wairarapa. These increases are well above the national average price rise of 96 per cent for the same period.


Property experts across the region said people were increasingly choosing to move to Wairarapa. Each census from 2006 to 2018 showed steady increases across all three districts, but numbers of new homes had not kept pace. The latest population estimate continued the trend.

Wairarapa Property Investors Association president Tim Horsbrugh said the chronic housing shortage had several causes.

“Over the last 10 years, the volume of new properties listed has been relatively flat year on year, however, we know the population of all three districts has been increasing, which creates a classic supply and demand curve – price increases and a housing shortage.

“We live in a beautiful district where people want to live, and we are now playing catch-up for years of underdevelopment to keep up with the district’s population growth.

“Section prices that were $180,000 18 months ago are now priced near $300,000 today. Councils should not be scared to significantly increase their development fees to cover new infrastructure costs. We want developers to be successful and with section prices this high, they can afford higher development contribution fees.”

He said that ratepayers would benefit through low rate increases as urban growth paid its way.

Harcourts Masterton managing director Prue Hamill said the region had become a popular place to live, but some buyers were struggling.

“Wairarapa has come into its own. Covid has had an amazing impact on what people want to do with their lifestyles. Proximity to Wellington is also a factor.

“The South Wairarapa price is in the $800,000s, higher than the national average. Masterton prices are now comparable with areas like Taupo, Rotorua and
New Plymouth.”

Hamill said average prices had gone up while sales numbers had gone down, with fewer buying weekender properties and more making a permanent move.

“People are selling their properties and coming here for the lifestyle. That is a change.

“Some people find they can work from home and businesses are becoming more flexible.”

She said although things could change, there was limited sign of that right now.

“What concerns me is that income is not increasing at the rate the price of housing is increasing. New buyers are impacted, and rents are high too.”

She said now was a good time to sell, with plenty of cash buyers and people from outside the area in the market.

Ray White Wairarapa sales manager Mark Childs said property prices and population had increased. He had worked in the Wairarapa property market since 2001.

“The simple fact is there is less property, more buyers and a month-on-month increase in prices.”

He said if interest rates, lending policies, and other economic indicators remained unchanged, prices were unlikely to come down, although he hoped they would stabilise.

There was strong appetite for new developments, but a shortage of land.

“You would struggle to sell a section 10 years ago, you could buy a built property for less. Now new builds are more attractive.”

“There are developments happening but if we keep having population growth, I don’t see much change.”

Property Brokers Wairarapa area manager Brent Woodmass agreed.

“Until we have more housing stock, I can’t see price trends changing much. Many Wellington buyers are now interested in buying in Wairarapa.

“It’s hardest at the lower end with first time buyers.

“It’s the same right across the country. No stock,” he said.

“Every new house being built is already sold.

“There is no short-term fix. Hopefully, in the longer term, it will improve.”

Vanessa Taylor of realestate.co.nz said the rising prices were unsurprising.

“More people searched for property in 2020 than any other year since 2016, and we’re tracking to eclipse that in 2021.”

About 21.4 per cent site of the site’s users were offshore.

Four North Island regions hit all-time asking price highs in April: Northland, Taranaki, Wellington, and Manawatu-Whanganui.

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