Benneydale's bargain prices lure buyers looking for do-ups
A 10th of the 85 homes in the King Country township of Benneydale have sold to out of towners for bargain basement prices in the last 16 months in what one real estate agent described as "a bit of a flurry".
The latest, a derelict three-bedroom weatherboard home on Maniati Rd, sold for $10,000 yesterday.
"We have just signed another contract this morning with another Aucklander just picking up a home that's in disrepair," said Bruce Spurdle First National residential sales consultant Mary Tapu.
"The houses you get for that are run down and no-one has done anything to them. Aucklanders will do a great job on them. There's grass growing through the walls.
"We have sold four houses another four have been private sales on Trade Me."
Bruce Spurdle First National said it was currently offering 10 properties in Benneydale with an average asking price of $76,000.
Yesterday's new buyer didn't want to talk to the Times, but told Tapu he intended to renovate the house and live in it.
"The buyer thinks he has got a steal. He has got big ideas and has got a budget."
Tapu said similar properties sold for $5000 to $8000 a decade ago.
"Most of the people we have sold to are just looking for a different lifestyle.
Spurdle described the sales as "a bit of a flurry".
Around 185 people live in Benneydale.
Among the new Benneydale residents are wood turner Gary Howe, who is building a workshop and studio, and mosaic artist Isabelle Isaaco, who is landscaping her gardens with mosaic features.
Waitomo District Mayor Brian Hanna put some of the activity down to the recently opened 85 kilometre-long Pureora Timber Trail at nearby Pureora Forrest Park, which he said was attracting cyclists to the area.
Prime Minister John Key opened the $4.5 million trail about a year ago.
"I think some of it is people realising their assets in Hamilton or Auckland and buying cheap houses and being able to do it up," Hanna said.
Monica Louis, who moved with her husband Maurice to Benneydale's old Four Square superette, which they converted into a home a decade ago, recently opened Timber Trail Accommodation.
"There is life in Benneydale. You can see all these people on their bikes on the road because of the Timber Trail.
"It's very much a place that people are attracted to because of the low property prices, but they tend to be a bit shocked when they discover the high rates," she said.
The average Benneydale home pays $3000 a year in rates.
"At the moment Benneydale still looks a bit sad," Louis said. But she expects that to change with the restoration plans new buyers have.
The Timber Trail operations manager Kim Tukaki said the Timber Trail would create sustainable economic value to local communities and the region.
"The Pureora Forest Park stretches across both the Waitomo and Ruapehu Districts, as does the Timber Trail," she said.
"My feeling is that Benneydale has the potential to become the next Tirau with quaint shops, cafes and accommodation."