City slickers looking Bay way

By Genevieve Helliwell, Sonya Bateson


Aucklanders are escaping their unaffordable housing market by moving to Tauranga to enjoy the relaxed lifestyle, an industry expert says.

The average value of a house in Tauranga is $428,908 - about $200,000 less than the average house value in Auckland.

The price difference between the two regions, highlighted by QV's statistics for April, was a reason Aucklanders were choosing to move to the Western Bay, QV Tauranga valuer Paul Thomas said.

He had appraised properties for numerous Auckland clients who had recently moved to the region. "I know of a few examples and it could be a sign that further movement is going to happen over the next little while," Mr Thomas said.

"[My clients] acknowledged the lower prices down here and they were pretty stoked with the value of houses here."

However, people who moved to the Bay could face a salary drop, Mr Thomas said.

Lower wages did not deter new Bay resident John Mead to move from Auckland to Tauranga.

He said it was a lot more affordable to live in Tauranga and it had "a lot less pace of life".

"I come from Matamata so I'm no stranger to small towns and compared to Auckland, Tauranga is a small town but it's a really nice place to live."

Karen Worley of Realty Services, which operates Bayleys and Eves Realty, said more Aucklanders were moving to Tauranga.

"There's a real trend, so much so that we've decided we're going to take Tauranga properties to Auckland at the Auckland Home Show in September. It is a big thing that we've definitely noticed in the last three or four months. I think it's due to a combination of jobs, the lifestyle and allowing first home buyers who can't afford Auckland the opportunity to own their own home."

She did not expect the trend to abate as long as Auckland homes were so expensive.

Greg Purcell, franchise owner of Ray White Realty Focus in Mount Maunganui and Papamoa, said he hadn't noticed large numbers of Aucklanders in the past six months but said small numbers from the big smoke had been moving to the Western Bay for years.

John O'Donnell, principal and owner of LJ Hooker Mt Maunganui and Papamoa, said his staff had also noticed the trend.

Aucklanders could sell their homes for $600,000-$700,000 then buy a home in Tauranga for $400,000-$500,000 and bank the difference. "The reality is New Zealand is getting older. People are thinking they're just about to give up their jobs and what's in the bank? They don't have that money in the bank but they have a property." Aucklanders were also frustrated with roading issues and high rates.

Latest QV figures show a 1.2 per cent increase in house values in Tauranga compared with three months ago and a 0.8 per cent increase on the corresponding time last year. The Western Bay district showed a 0.6 per cent drop compared with three months ago but a 3 per cent increase over 12 months.


- Bay of Plenty Times

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