It's been the talk of the town for a while now - how some Aucklanders, often spurred on by the Super City's super property prices, are selling up and moving to the regions.

So where are they going? And how much cheaper are the properties they're typically buying?

CoreLogic senior research analyst Nick Goodall says: "More and more Aucklanders these days are selling out of the Super City and shifting to the regions.

"In 2015 we saw more than 3600 households trade the big city life for the more relaxed lifestyle elsewhere. This was a 60 per cent increase on the year before.

"So far in 2016 we're tracking at a similar rate with 2700 Aucklanders flying the coop in the first three-quarters of the year.


"Aucklanders have always favoured relocating to the regions and major cities near the Super City. It's clear they prefer not to stray too far from what they're used to."

Consistently number one is Tauranga, often favoured by retirees, with Whangarei, Thames Coromandel, Hamilton, the Far North and the Waikato District all featuring heavily in the top destinations for Auckland escapees.

Goodall says: "They're likely to appreciate still having relatively close proximity to Auckland where many of their family and friends may remain.

"Settling somewhere with similar weather to our largest city is also likely to play a part."
He believes the fact many of the locations have historically been popular holiday destinations means Aucklanders' familiarity with them boosts their confidence to move.

Reducing the amount of money tied up in property by several hundred thousand dollars is the typical result for ex-Auckland property owners relocating and buying elsewhere according to CoreLogic year-to-date 2016 averages.

Auckland sellers who bought in Tauranga paid on average $235,000 less than they sold their Auckland property for, in Whangarei on average $351,000 less, in Thames-Coromandel $340,000 less, in Hamilton $250,000 less and in the Far North $306,000 less.

Buying in the Waikato District brought a $200,000 average property price reduction, in Christchurch $341,000 less, in Rotorua $394,000 less, in Western Bay of Plenty $278,000 less and in the Kaipara District $364,000 less.

However regional property supply is limited, with CoreLogic reporting the number of listings available in the regions being consistently down on a year ago.


QV valuers have hands-on experience with former Auckland property owners who have relocated.

Thomas Ujdur, valuer and team leader northern for QV homevalue Whangarei sees people commuting to Auckland from as far north as Mangawhai, particularly if they can spend part of their time working from home.

He's seen Auckland grandparents moving north to follow their children and grandchildren.

Locations within commuting distance of Hamilton such as Te Awamutu, Morrinsville, Ngaruawahia, Raglan and Cambridge have been increasingly popular says QV homevalue Hamilton valuer Stephen Hare.

He's watched Thames values being driven up by people buying there to commute to Auckland.

Some areas attracting first home buyers who have been priced out of Tauranga are Te Puke, Paengaroa, Te Puna and Pyes Pa reports David Hume, valuer for QV homevalue Tauranga.

Rotorua's become an alternative for those priced out of Tauranga, says QV Rotorua valuer Michael Power. Its appeal is helped by being an easy drive to larger centres such as Tauranga, Hamilton and Auckland.

Rotorua Lakes Council's marketing arm has launched a campaign encouraging Aucklanders to move to Rotorua. The campaign targets Aucklanders including families, working professionals and those of mid-high socio-economic status to embrace Rotorua.

Tauranga, amoung others, has had their population boosted by the
Tauranga, amoung others, has had their population boosted by the "Auckland escapees". Photo/GettyImages

Moving away from the rush

Moving out

A couple of months ago Brett and Jacqui Piskulic sold up their Mangere Bridge home of 10 years, moving their family to a lifestyle property 10 minutes out of Kamo above Whangarei.

Brett says: "Jacqui floated the idea of moving out of Auckland a while ago and we got serious about it earlier this year.

"She'd made noises about us moving to Invercargill, where she's originally from, but that seemed too cold and far away to me."

Around Whangarei seemed a good option as the couple and their daughter and two sons had enjoyed holidaying up north. They made sure there were good clubs available for their children's sports before deciding to relocate.

The couple say they've got no interest in 'knocking Auckland' as the move was about pursuing a lifestyle they wanted which would allow them to spend more time as a family.

A real estate agent they trusted in the new location knew what they were looking for after selling their non-waterfront Mangere Bridge home. They bought a similarly sized, somewhat newer home on about a hectare of land for a little less money.

Brett's been able to continue his career behind the scenes in the electricity supply industry working remotely, interspersed with some out-of-town trips.

He'd leave home early in Auckland to avoid commuter bottlenecks but he and Jacqui often got stuck in congestion taking children to sport.

Hamilton also has had an increase in population due to the
Hamilton also has had an increase in population due to the "Auckland escapees". Photo/GettyImages

Brett says: "I'm traffic intolerant and felt like I was wasting life away stuck in the traffic."
They weren't much hooked into Auckland's cafe society and have found great beaches and bushwalks around Whangarei.

They're grateful two staff from Waterlea School came up to help transition their 10-year-old son with special needs, Nikolai, into his new school.

They also took a few day trips to their friendly new location pre-move.

Jacqui's social but says technology including messaging and video calling helps maintain contact with Auckland friends and family.

She says: "I love the fact we live looking out at greenery and have space around us."

New Plymouth
House-sitting for a New Plymouth cousin for a week last Christmas convinced ex-Torbay residents Rachel and Dan Court to move their family there in August.

Rachel says: "Within a couple of days we said, 'This is crazy; everything seems so easy down here'.

"Dan's a surfer and could get up and drive five minutes to go surfing every morning."

The Courts' blended family with six children was finding day-to-day Auckland life fast-paced, living in a three-bedroom one-bathroom 1950s Torbay house on a cross-leased site.

Whangarei experience a boost in population too. Photo/GettyImages
Whangarei experience a boost in population too. Photo/GettyImages

Rachel says: "Dan's a self-employed tradesman who often got stuck in traffic going to do quotes and I didn't really feel like I had time to do much outside of work once everything else got done."

They sold their Torbay property for $990,000 at the end of June, shortly after paying $480,000 for a 2.4 hectare lifestyle property in Tataraimaka outside the little township of Oakura.

Rachel says things fell into place when she heard word-of-mouth about the job she got as a New Plymouth public health nurse earning exactly the same wages as she did doing that role in Auckland. Dan's spending a spell as house husband while they settle in; confident he can use his trade skills or skipper's ticket when they're ready.

They've already extended their 1920s bungalow from three to four bedrooms, content with its sole bathroom for now as two older children have stayed in Auckland with family.

Rachel says: "We're so happy. We've got a view of the ocean and a view of Mount Taranaki, paddocks and open land and stock.

"It feels like we're rediscovering the old Kiwi values. We're putting in a mini orchard and the two younger boys love riding their push-bikes around the paddocks."

Regional jobs
Do your research about jobs before heading to the regions, advises managing director of Adecco NZ, Mike Davies.

His company's 16 offices throughout the country are constantly looking for good staff but Mike acknowledges well-paid professionals won't automatically find the same sort of roles outside Auckland.

He says: "You obviously can't just rock down to Tauranga and expect to be a nuclear physicist."

He says prior research is just as important for Aucklanders contemplating setting up their own businesses to support themselves post moving to the regions.

While demand for tradespeople has been strong across many regional towns, opportunities in industries such as fisheries, tourism, meat processing, agriculture and forestry vary hugely by location.

Mike's confident Auckland's property prices and pace of life will see more businesses relocate to the regions, especially for location flexible services such as call centres.

Spark spokeperson Michelle Baguely says they don't monitor the numbers of customers who've relocated from Auckland and work remotely from home in the regions.

However, she strongly suggests they investigate technology services and speeds available before any move by contacting retail providers, checking out their websites or even talking to owners of potential properties if possible.

"We've had customers who have moved away from Auckland to small holiday towns hoping to run their companies which routinely transfer large video files and enormous data files."

She says while services are constantly improving some towns rely on infrastructure built years ago and fibre will cover only 75 per cent of the population once roll-out is complete in 2019.

Chorus took over responsibility for maintaining the network in 2011 so that isn't the role of retail providers such as Spark.

In a jam
The increasing frustration of Auckland traffic often rates a mention from those farewelling the city.

The AA's principal adviser infrastructure, Barney Irvine, says its member surveys highlight that few issues seem to do more to push Aucklanders' buttons than road congestion.

Barney says: "They say traffic congestion is a top concern of Auckland city living, describing it like an ever-tightening noose around their neck."

Studies have been done suggesting Auckland's road congestion is in the league of that experienced in cities such as Sydney, Melbourne and Perth.

New Zealand Transport Agency (NZTA) figures show how much Auckland motorway commutes into the CBD have typically increased. A Southern Motorway 33km journey from Papakura which averaged 46 minutes in 2013 averages 67 minutes in 2016.

A Northern Motorway 17.5km journey from Oteha Valley Rd which averaged 42 minutes in 2013 averages 50 minutes in 2016 while a Northwestern Motorway 16.4km journey from Royal Rd which averaged 25 minutes in 2013 averages 37.5 minutes in 2016.

The flow-on effects of home-owners leaving Auckland means some fast-growing regional locations have noticed increasing traffic.

An Omokoroa resident (21km north of Tauranga) has noticed her weekday morning commute into Tauranga CBD lengthen markedly over the past 18 months.

Meanwhile some Papamoa residents report that extra traffic has stretched their morning commute into Mount Maunganui from typically around 15-minutes six to eight months ago to about 25 minutes nowadays.