River-front properties that were close to being written off after the earthquakes could become the most sought-after in Christchurch.
In time, technical category 3 land around the city will bounce back to become desirable once again, Earthquake Commission chief executive Ian Simpson says.
"We've all got really short memories so I think in 10 years time, everyone's going to be clamouring for want of a waterfront view property that's out there called TC3," he said at a meeting of business leaders at the Canterbury Club yesterday.
TC3 properties sit on land deemed among the most risky to build on that has not been red-zoned. The TC3 label has been at the forefront of many protests.
Disgruntled TC3 residents have rallied against repair delays, a lack of answers and miscommunication over their land.
But Simpson believed people would forget their earthquake-based concerns and said the disputed TC3 label would not tarnish the properties permanently.
Simpson asked if the view that TC3 land needed super-strong designs could be taken too far.
"Personally, again not an EQC view, I think we've gone too far in terms of risk aversion, in terms of the view of that land."
River-front TC3 homeowners spoken to by The Press agreed with Simpson and said they held little concerns over their future.
Elderly couple Denis and Ann Hamilton-Seymour live along the Avon River in quake-hit Dallington.
Despite being labelled TC3, being surrounded by damaged roads and having contractors working on their doorstep for the past few months, the pair said life was "absolutely perfect".
"We have one of the best views in Christchurch and with a view like this our house will always be desirable," Denis Hamilton-Seymour said.
In a few years the area would have new services, new sewage pipes, new roads and "the view is just going to get better when the red zone homes go".
"We will be in the country in the city and we have no worries at all," he said.
They agreed TC3 homes in their area would become sought-after in a few years but said when the time came there would not be any for sale.
"People won't sell because everyone loves it here. Why the hell would you sell?"
The only handbrake that came with a TC3 property was if a homeowner wanted to rebuild a new house because there would be significant extra costs ensuring the foundations met the building code, he said.
Dee Collins lives along the Heathcote River in a TC3 property and said her home "rocks and rolls like a piece of jelly" in an aftershock, but she "wouldn't be surprised" if her rebuilt river-front home was among the most attractive in the city in a few years.
Before the quakes real estate companies used to drop leaflets into her letterbox regularly asking if she was interested in selling her house and she said it was a good sign the leaflets had started appearing once again.
Collins was shocked when she heard she was sitting on a TC3 property but was no longer worried about the zoning because she believed "the area is worth it; regardless".
TC3 homeowner Matthew Carpenter lives a few doors down from Collins and agreed they were sitting on "some of the most desirable river property in Christchurch".
"There will be a demand for them in spite of their zoning," he said.
"Nothing has really changed. I think this is still the same house as it always was."
Alan and Heidi Allison, who live on the same street, also said they were "not that fazed" about the land condition.
The pair had contemplated shifting into a bigger house before the September quake but said they had put their plans on hold because they believed the TC3 label could affect the resale value of their home.
"I don't think we could sell it as we are - but maybe in a few years," Alan Allison said.
"Once people see Christchurch getting rebuilt I agree that no one will worry about TC3 land. People will buy into it again if they do their homework," he said.
Meanwhile, Simpson said premiums charged by insurers would rise for some property owners judged to be living on weaker land.
This would evolve as sections becoming more defined by soil strength and structural integrity.
- © Fairfax NZ News
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