Auckland couple rapt with Dunedin

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Home sweet home . . . Linda and Casper Barnard raise a mug to their new house in Mornington. PHOTO: JOSHUA RIDDIFORD

Dunedin is the place to be.

At least that seems to be the case for out-of-towners buying houses in the city.

Linda and Casper Barnard, who live with their grand-daughter, are two of those people.

Previously living on Auckland’s North Shore, the pair jumped at the chance to move to Dunedin after Mrs Barnard was offered a manager’s job at a salon supplies branch store opening in the city.

Home ownership was an attractive feature of moving to Dunedin.

“When they asked me to open a branch in Dunedin we immediately said yes because then eventually we knew we would be able to buy property in Dunedin,” Mrs Barnard said.

Mrs Barnard secured pre-approval for a mortgage while still in Auckland.

The family arrived in Dunedin in late May and, after staying in holiday accommodation, moved into their new home early last month.

Mortgage payments of $420 per week on their recently purchased Mornington house were much better than the $700 per week rent the pair paid in Auckland.

The pair moved from South Africa six years ago and Mrs Barnard said when they were living in Auckland, home ownership was not even considered.

The family had not regretted their decision to move to Dunedin.

“We are absolutely not sorry. Dunedin is absolutely lovely. It is so different and much better. We love it.”

Mrs Barnard said she liked the friendliness of Dunedin people who were quick to help newcomers with directions.

The average house value for the Auckland region was $1,044,303 for the month of July in Quotable Value’s monthly house price index. That compared with $373,857 for Dunedin.

The nationwide average was $641,280.

Cutlers property consultant Hamish McDonald said he had noticed people from outside Dunedin showing interest in the market.

“Each week I’m meeting people who are moving down here to work and they want to buy a house.”

Nidd Realty owner Joe Nidd said 8.5% of the agency’s sales for the four months of April, May, June, and July this year were made to people moving to Dunedin.

This was lower than the figure of 11% for the previous six months but he said there had been a “kick up” of people from outside Dunedin moving to the city to buy houses since the end of 2015.

Meanwhile, 14.3% of Nidd Realty’s sales for April, May, June, and July this year were made to outside investors.

QV reported that quarterly value growth in Dunedin had slowed to 0.6% over the past three months. Values rose 12.6% in the year to July 2017.

Sales volumes were down over winter and fewer properties were listed, Mr Nidd said.

There had been a declining level of stock in the city.

His firm listed 680 properties in Dunedin in July 2015 but only 441 in July last year and 362 in July this year.

Mr Nidd predicted the number of available houses would not go any lower.