Manawatu housing market going 'berserk' as new house numbers spike

Developer Paul Haydock, from Japac Homes, and new home owner Andrew Body.
Murray Wilson/ Fairfax NZ.

Developer Paul Haydock, from Japac Homes, and new home owner Andrew Body.

The Palmerston North property market is going "berserk", as the number of new homes being built continues to climb, builders say.

Figures provided by the Palmerston North City Council show consents issued for new houses have shot up 52 per cent, with 392 granted over the year to September.

Nationally, growth was more modest, with a 14 per cent increase in the same period.

Japac Homes co-owner Paul Haydock said Palmerston North real estate was going through a "crazy period".

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Japac recently finished a 22-section subdivision on Atawhai Rd, behind Massey University.

Normally, it would take 3-5 years, and a long advertising campaign, to completely sell off a similar subdivision, Haydock said.

Haydock assumed Atawhai Rd would be the same, but it was planned, built and sold out in 18 months, with no advertising.

Andrew Brody was one of the first to buy, securing his family's new home for $600,000 in August 2015. He moved there in June.

Brody wanted to put the rent his family were paying toward something of their own and found competition was a lot less fierce for a newly built house.

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"It made sense and was the best decision I've made. There's never a great time [to buy] if you can afford it, do it."

Real Estate Institute of New Zealand Manawatu spokesman Andy Stewart said such experiences could be part of what's driving the spike in new houses.

There is still a shortage of houses listed for sale in Manawatu – every house on the market would be sold in 13 weeks if there are no new listings.

Stewart said people have been hesitant to put homes on the market because they are worried they might not be able to find a new one. Some may have decided building a new house that fits their needs was a safer bet, he said.

Palmerston North builder Fraser Miller, owner of Miller Construction, said the increase in new builds was plain to see.

"Everyone you talk to [in the industry] is flat out. It's just going berserk."

Miller Construction does a lot of "spec" work, buying sections and building a new home on them before there's a buyer lined up.

"[Turnaround] is three months go to whoa on average, once we get consent."

Palmerston North City Council head of building services Leigh Sage said the council's consents team was on top of the deluge of housing consents.

When building consent applications first hit record levels in May, delays began to creep into the process.

Since then the team had adjusted, adding another staff member to ease the load. It also has two cadets to be trained in the new year.

 - Stuff


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