Lifestyle block a nightmare for some

The market for lifestyle blocks is quiet. Photo / Thinkstock
The market for lifestyle blocks is quiet. Photo / Thinkstock

There's been a surge in the number of lifestyle blocks on the market - but be assured, Kiwis haven't given up on dreams of The Good Life.

Experts say some city slickers struggle to adapt to the quiet country life or looking after all that land - but more often they just can't afford to keep a city house and a rural property in times of recession.

Figures from Trade Me reveal a 15 per cent increase in listings in the Auckland region in the six months to January, compared with the same period a year ago.

The biggest growth was in Franklin, followed by Rodney. There were also increases in Waikato and Canterbury and a huge spike in Manawatu and Wanganui.

Escaping the rat race to farm veges and raise hens was popularised by Felicity Kendal and Richard Briers in the 1980s English television comedy, The Good Life. But a quarter century later, the dream has faded somewhat.

One lifestyler in Franklin, who did not wish to be named, said he had been trying to sell his block for about a year so he could move closer to family.

He had dropped the price $80,000 - from $749,000 to $669,000 - to attract more buyers in a "quiet" market.

ASB chief economist Nick Tuffley said one reason for the extra listings could be a reluctance to tie up money in a big block of land that's relatively unproductive, while property prices are stagnant.

He said fewer people wanted second homes and those who owned properties in both city and country could be opting to stay in the urban area.

Barfoot & Thompson lifestyle and rural property consultant, Mike Butler, said there were more high-end lifestyle blocks - those priced from about $800,000 to $3 million - on the market in Franklin than ever. Butler said it could be because of divorces and people wanting to have less of a mortgage.

Ray White agent Rod Enright put the higher listings of lifestyle blocks down to "economic times" - people wanting less cash in their castles. Others sales were because of marriage break-ups, he said, or because the owners were retiring.

- Herald on Sunday

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