Rolleston - its money in the bank!

Aucklanders are taking advantage of Canterbury’s affordability, with some buying six homes at a time.

Christchurch is the most affordable New Zealand city to live in, according to the 16th Annual Demographia International Housing Affordability Survey of 309 cities around the world, released this week.

Smart real estate boss Debra Hakaraia says there are currently more buyers than stock available in Christchurch with, Rolleston, a town 2kms away from the city, becoming popular amongst property-hunters.

Investors are flooding the area, she says, as they can purchase multiple properties for the price of what one house costs in Auckland.

 “There was one guy who came in and bought six houses in Rolleston because there’s heaps of stock there. We are finding more out-of-towners coming to Rolleston to buy brand new investment properties.”

The other active buyers are Christchurch-raised Kiwis coming back into the city after the 2010 and 2011 earthquakes, Hakaraia says.

“The town is getting rebuilt and it started to pick up but then we’ve had the fires [Port Hills in 2017]. We feel that we’ve had our lot now and it’s just upwards from here. It’s a really good vibe in the city, the people are happy and it’s not over-populated yet.”

Hakaraia says that being able to score a two-bedroom unit for $189,000 in Christchurch, attracts first home buyers into the area.

“Years ago, first home buyers were buying old houses but today they like brand new and they can afford it.”

Ray White agent Wendy Coster says first home buyers, as well as others, opt for a new build because there are fewer hoops to jump through than for a renovation.

Ten years post the quake, insurance companies, banks and finance companies have not relaxed their policies.

“There’s a lot on the market here and it’s selling but we are different from any other city in New Zealand.

“People are still quite scared about buying here and it’s because of the quake damage and insurance policies, which delayed the effect of prices going up in Christchurch.”

The new builds in the city are mainly townhouses or apartments, with brand new family homes being built on the outskirts of Christchurch. That means first home buyers are being pushed away from the city, Coster says.

“When buyers get in from Auckland or Wellington they go ‘crikey, it’s bloody cheap here’ but they don’t know about the land zoning and the repairs and by the time they are finished with paperwork they are scared.

“It’s hard enough buying the house as it is and then on top of that you can’t get insurance but in the rest of the country you don’t have that issue.”

Property developer Jake Hughes from Hughes Development says he’s noticed an increase in predominantly Auckland families moving to Rolleston in the past 18 months.

He puts it down to affordability, land availability and a short commute to the Garden City.

“It’s obviously value for money. They can buy the house for half the price they sold their Auckland property for and get good employment here too.”