Waikato is now New Zealand’s fifth most expensive region, it’s increasingly popular, particularly for Auckland retirees, according to one real estate leader.
“Our offices in Waikato are seeing a lot of Aucklanders moving down. After the experience of lockdowns, many people realise they can work remotely and effectively from home, with more employers willing to enable it,” said Derryn Mayne, Owner of Century 21 New Zealand.
In REINZ’s latest figures, the Waikato region saw another record median house price at $655,000 in October, up 15.9% from the same time last year. Sales volumes increased 30.4% year-on-year with 961 properties sold – the highest number of sales in over four years, and the highest for an October month since 2003.
Mayne predicts November’s numbers for Waikato, out soon, could even be stronger. Regardless, with Auckland’s median house price now at $1 million, Waikato remains comparatively affordable with lifestyle and space in abundance.
“Waikato is giving many Auckland families the opportunity to free up some capital, or reduce their mortgage, while still being in striking distance to the super city for weekly meetings.
“As well as plenty of good schools in Waikato, many are seeking an easier lifestyle. Let’s not also forget that in this Covid-19 world some people, particularly those over 70, are now also wanting a bit more human space,” she said.
The real estate boss says ongoing multi-billion-dollar State Highway One motorway extensions, and bypasses, are effectively bringing Waikato closer to Auckland. The Hamilton to Auckland passenger train service will also soon provide commuters with another option.
“Like many of New Zealand’s smaller towns that are in commuter proximity to much larger cities, the likes of Huntly and Te Awamutu are now seeing people moving out from Hamilton as well as down from Auckland.”
Mayne said with Taupo also getting pricey, Century 21 offices in Mangakino and Turangi are fielding more ‘outside’ enquiries with homes and baches now in hot demand. Turangi, in particular, has experienced huge price growth this year, despite no international tourism.
Huntly, with considerable SH1 traffic now diverted away from the township, is seeing plenty of action and opportunities too. One gamechanger being Sleepyhead’s ownership of 176-hectares of land, adjoining the nearby existing Ohinewai village. The site is proposed to be transformed into a mixed-use, fully master-planned community of up to 3,000 residents, creating considerable jobs and growth for North Waikato
The Waikato District Council is tasked with managing growth within its area which is largely north and west of Hamilton. The district’s growth is expected to swell from 73,600 people to possibly 103,000 by 2045.
“Hamilton property was undervalued up until about five years ago, then it started climbing and hasn’t stopped. That has had a flow-on effect on neighbouring towns and lifestyle blocks as demand grows.
“While Waikato is by no means cheap anymore, the region continues to offer many Auckland families and retirees the chance to get ahead and enjoy a great lifestyle. With Auckland’s median price hitting seven figures, many are now actively eying the regions which will only continue,” said Mayne.