An often stigmatised Napier suburb appears to finally have come of age, with a revamped shopping centre and an influx of property investors combining to boost property values by nearly $27,000 in three months.
The latest quarterly survey from state-owned valuer Quotable Value shows that while most suburbs rose about 3 per cent, property values in Maraenui have skyrocketed - up $26,708 over the three months to March 31, on the back of a massive 11 per cent hike.
The median value of properties in the suburb has now jumped 57.8 percent for the five years to March 2018, and at the end of last month, the median house value was estimated to be $242,800. That was still the second lowest (after Flaxmere) in Hawke's Bay.
Values in Marewa and Napier South also saw steep increases in value - up 7.8 per cent and 6.7 per cent, respectively on the previous quarter.
Property Brokers regional manager agent Paul Whitaker said rising house prices in Maraenui was being driven by investors.
"That's where the best rental returns are in Napier and therefore more investors are modifying their portfolios, and buying more for positive cash flow in areas such as Maraenui."
The suburb was now one of the only areas left in Napier where investors could achieve positive cashflow on borrowings.
"Whereas, if you are buying somewhere else, it's all negatively geared and the Government are now putting restrictions around what can happen with negative gearing.
"With the rise in property prices over the last three and a half years it has become unaffordable for investors to buy in the usual investor suburbs, and that's why they have to look at the cheaper suburbs like Maraenui and other suburbs on the fringe of that location."
Tremains managing director Simon Tremain said the area was also attracting first-home buyers.
"Maraenui and around there becomes a very popular area for first-home buyers and investors, and again, how high that continues to go will be dependent on the proportionate increase in other areas of the market place."
Napier City Council's Nelson Park Ward representative Maxine Boag said the suburb had a lot going for it.
"It's close to town, its flat, its quite central. There's schools, kohanga, kindergartens. The shops have all been done up, with some really lovely murals at one end, and at the other end you have a new laundromat, a new bakery, a really good fish and chip shop. So, there's some really nice shops that have quite recently been put in."
The city council had also spent money on traffic calming measures, as well as a new playground.
There was also a real sense of community spirit, with plans in the council's Long Term Plan for a new community centre.
"Maybe Maraenui's time has come and there is a lot of potential there. I think it's coming into its own.
"There's always been a stigma about Maraenui, and that was partly because of the rows and rows of state houses - well most of them have gone now. So, who knows it could be the place to be."
Maraenui community advocate Minnie Ratima said volunteer residents and the city had worked to provide an uplift the suburb.
"It's just about taking pride in where you live and keeping it a lot tidier.
"There have been a lot more residents, locals and others around the shopping complex because of the new shops.
"It looks quite buzzy around Maraenui, in a good way at the moment."
The council was also renewing footpaths in the area.
'"We've been attracting a lot of attention from the council lately, and it's been good that they have come to the party."
As a whole, Napier values rose 17.6 per cent year on year and 3.4 per cent over the past three months. The average value in the city, at the end of April, was $500,347.
Hastings values also continued to rise - up 12.5 per cent year on year and 1.3 per cent over the past three months. The average value there is now $459,406.
The Central Hawke's Bay has also seen values rise 19.8 per cent year on year and 2.7 per cent over the past three months and the average value there is now $315,767.