That is the view of real estate business operators, who say some Auckland people are selling their homes to buy in the Eastern Bay but that the biggest impact of the Auckland effect is felt most in Tauranga and Papamoa.
They say the Government’s announced changes to the way house sales are treated for tax purposes, and its tough new deposit requirements for residential property investors in the Auckland council area, are not an issue here.
Edge Realty principal Lynne Baker said a few Aucklanders were selling up and moving here but the numbers were greater in Tauranga, where there was much more housing choice.
Mrs Baker said the residential real estate market was quieter outside Auckland, even though the market here had experienced a good March and April, and there was now a shortage of listings.
She said the KiwiSaver scheme was now enabling first home buyers to enter the Whakatane housing market at its lower level.
Mrs Baker said there had been a good number of sales in Kawerau.
Her view was supported by Bayleys Eastern Bay residential and lifestyle specialist Sneha Gray, a former economist.
Ms Gray said the Eastern Bay residential housing market was slowly but surely picking up.
“Kawerau has had a significant pick-up in the past six months.”
Ms Gray said the perception of Kawerau as a place to live was changing, and people, especially middle-income retirees, were selling up in Auckland, Whakatane and Rotorua to buy homes in Kawerau.
She had observed that Ohope was now home to many retirees from out of the region, who had sought a quality lifestyle next to the beach with money to spare for holidays.
She said she had also noticed a trend of people retiring to Kawerau and using their spare cash to buy motor homes.
Ms Gray said people wanting to move out of big cities and towns for a regional lifestyle were boosting buyer activity in the Eastern Bay, and this was encouraging some home owners here to put their properties on the market.
She noted that the Eastern Bay residential median sale price was $321,000 in February the highest February median price in since 2011, when it was $317,500.
Professional real estate co-owner Kathryn McKay said some out-of-town buyers were showing interest in the Whakatane market.
She said you could buy a property here for half the price of one in Auckland.
Ms McKay said she had spoken to someone from Auckland’s North Shore who was considering selling and buying here.
This person was looking at buying two rental properties and a modest home with the proceeds of the North Shore sale.
She said the Whakatane housing market had had its best January to April since the first four months of 2007.
With low interest rates it was a great time to buy, Ms McKay said.
Last week, Reserve Bank governor Graeme Wheeler identified three systemic risks facing the New Zealand financial system.
These were: Auckland’s rampant house prices, where the median price had risen 60 percent above its 2008 level, the sharp fall in dairy farm incomes; and low interest rates, which encouraged investors to take greater risks.