House prices in the Waitaki district have risen by 48.3% over the past four years, almost double the rate of national growth.
Figures from the Real Estate Institute of New Zealand (REINZ) show the median price for houses sold in the district has risen from $209,000 in 2015 to $310,000 in 2019.
Over the same timeframe, the median house price in New Zealand rose from $443,000 to $570,000, a 28.6% increase.
Otago’s median house price rose 53.1% from $297,000 to $455,000 between 2015 and 2019, while the Waimate district’s rose 31.6%, from $190,000 to $250,000, and Timaru’s rose 22.8%, from $290,000 to $356,115.
Waitaki Mayor Gary Kircher said, anecdotally, a good number of new people were moving to the district, drawn by the job opportunities, housing availability and affordability.
“Even though the prices have gone up, it is still an affordable area,” Mr Kircher said.
“It is seen as a cool place to live, with a great lifestyle – we are definitely attractive.”
The council had continued to monitor the affordability of houses for locals, Mr Kircher said.
“[Council is] part of a [national] group that has been set up to look at housing availability in its various forms, including transitional housing and emergency housing, to make sure we are looking after the more vulnerable members of our community.
“A lift in prices is obviously great for people who are already in the property market.
“We are definitely still affordable, but we have to stay mindful that we don’t end up with a market that is too difficult for our own people to get into in the first place.”
Record numbers of houses were also being built in the district, which was helping the top end of the market, he said.
“If all goes well, there will be opportunities for people to move up into better houses.
“In areas where the prices go down, houses aren’t being looked after and end up being run down and not fit for purpose.”
PGG Wrightson real estate agent Tony Spivey said there were a lot of people who were looking to get into the Waitaki district.
“We are certainly gaining popularity and a wider range of people looking to come here.
“We offer so many good things; it has been said to me before that this is one of the areas less likely to be affected by earthquakes.
“They see our services, facilities and quality of environment – you have access to the ocean, rivers, lakes, major centres within an hour or two each way.
“We are still on the right side of the money ledger. We still offer good value for money.”
REINZ head of communications Dee Crooks said by taking year-to-year data, the sample sizes were big enough to paint an accurate picture of what was happening in the market.
The data was based on actual sales.
“You always have to take into account the type of properties sold, but given that you are looking at year-to-year data, it is a pretty accurate picture of what is going on.”