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Can't beat property prices and Gisborne lifestyle

KRIS Taylor had never even visited Gisborne before he decided to move here from Auckland with his wife, baby daughter and parents.

That was six weeks ago, and one word sums up their experience since then: “Fantastic.”

“It’s more than we could have hoped for. The whole place . . . the town is so tidy, people are friendly and it just looks so well set up. The orchards are professional-looking too.”

The 34-year-old and his family decided to look around Gisborne for their complete change of lifestyle a couple of months ago.

It was his Mum’s idea to look at Gisborne, as she had been here before. They were on the look-out for a piece of land to set up as an orchard, or an existing orchard — which they found, and everyone loves.

“This is completely new for all of us.”

They might have more family here soon too as after Kris’s brother came to visit with his children last month, they too are also thinking about moving here.

Gisborne’s affordable real estate market is attracting national and international interest.

Many are buying properties at reasonable prices and rent them out for a good return. But they are also telling their real estate agents they want to move here one day.

Bronwyn Kay Agency owner Bronwyn Kay says they fall in love with the lifestyle, ease of living, climate and the people when they visit Gisborne.

“For many, once they have visited Gisborne they choose it over and above the rest of the world as a place they want to call home,” said Ms Kay.

National interest was mainly from Auckland, with people looking for a change in lifestyle or to free up some cash by selling there.

Compared to the same time last year, Gisborne’s median house prices have fallen 15 percent from $290,500 in October 2014 to $247,000 in October 2015 — a drop of $43,500 — according to residential sales data compiled by the Real Estate Institute of New Zealand.

Price drop and mortgage rate cutsThis price drop coincides with recent mortgage rate cuts, and the attraction of living in an isolated, beautiful city like Gisborne at a time of heightened global unrest. Many agents also spoke of international interest.

RE/MAX First Light co-owner Nicky Solomon said they recently sold a property to an Australian buyer who bought it as an investment with the intention of moving here for a peaceful, safe and relaxed lifestyle in a few years’ time.

“He then took a trip to Europe and decided that everything was so chaotic out in the big wide world that he wanted to move to Gisborne permanently right away.

“So he has now moved into the house and is loving the Gisborne lifestyle.”

Tracy Real Estate owner Tracy Bristowe said the last 20 percent of sales she did were to out-of-town investors who bought properties in the $150,000 or less range, as they brought a good return.

Others were investing from offshore after viewing properties online.

It takes on average about 35 days for a house to sell in Gisborne, although it can happen a lot faster.

Mike Leahy said his quickest sale was two hours — the perfect mix of right buyer, right property, right time.

But then there are homes that have been on the market for months. Costello Real Estate owner Sue Costello sums up those ones up in one word — overpriced.

The rateable value (RV) was often used as an indicator for price but many agents do not think it is relevant — it all depended what buyers were willing to offer against what sellers were willing to accept.

The amount of properties coming on the market dropped 2.2 percent over the last year to 87 homes in October 2015, from data shown on the NZ Property report.

While some agents said a lack of jobs in Gisborne put families off moving here, others reported that it was job opportunities that brought them here — or reaching a point in life where they have no job.

Ray White sales agent Di Ritchie said there had been a great demand this year for units in lifestyle retirement villages.

“Retirees from out of town are moving to Gisborne to be closer to their families,” she said.

DIG THIS AUCKLAND: A couple of months ago Kris Taylor moved his whole family from the rat race of Auckland to the idyllic family setting of a Gisborne orchard . . . he brought his trusty digger along for the ride too and hopes to find work. Kris is one of many out-of-town buyers who have shown an interest in Gisborne’s affordable property market and lifestyle. Real estate agents say they are also talking with international buyers who are looking to invest here, with a view to making Gisborne their “forever” home. Picture by Liam Clayton