Carmen is a social issues and rural reporter at the Bay of Plenty Times

Move to Tauranga a 'no-brainer'

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Richard Smart and Kat Jensen moved from Takapuna to Tauranga. Photo/John Borren
Richard Smart and Kat Jensen moved from Takapuna to Tauranga. Photo/John Borren

Richard Smart and Kat Jensen say the decision to move from Takapuna to Tauranga "was a no-brainer" as they were able to buy a house and business with the sale of their Auckland home.

A former Whakatane "Bay boy", Mr Smart said the couple were living a reasonably good life in Auckland with high-paying jobs. He was in national sales and Ms Jensen was a manager at High Performance Sport NZ but commute times to work and the influx of people were taking their toll.

"We felt the place was getting crazy busy and our lifestyle was starting to suffer so we made a call in October 2014 to look outside Auckland and we looked at Warkworth and Matakana but Tauranga jumped up."

The couple, who were not investors, moved here for lifestyle reasons and bought Cafe Botonnix at Palmers Garden Centre in Bethlehem and a home in the suburb last year - for a mortgage less than what they were paying in Auckland.

Mr Smart said initially they weren't looking for a business but decided to think outside the square because "we realised we would not get the same incomes but in reality we didn't need to".

In the last month they had sold their home in Bethlehem and fulfilled their dream of owning a house near the sea at Mount Maunganui on Ocean Beach Rd.

"It's been brilliant. We did it for the lifestyle and to be closer to my family. Tauranga is really cool and the Mount has the best vibe."

Meanwhile, Tauranga man Mark Stone said it had been a struggle to find an affordable house in Tauranga.

However, six weeks ago he moved into a small two-bedroom detached home in Welcome Bay with his wife Audra.

The couple paid $315,000 but had looked at numerous one bedroom flats or units that were "dives" priced at $300,000 before increasing their budget. "I was starting to get despondent."

Mr Stone said he felt blessed to have found a home after renting for a period.

"It's absolutely wonderful. The house prices have gone crazy so we're grateful."

However, he believed the bubble would have to burst at some stage, he said.

- Bay of Plenty Times

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